Tag Archives: science fiction

Excerpt from “A Dark and Hungry God Arises”- book 3 of Stephen R. Donaldson’s Gap series

ANCILLARY DOCUMENTATION: GUTTERGANGS

(excerpt from “A Dark and Hungry God Arises: The Gap into Power – book 3 of the Gap Series, by Stephen R. Donaldson)

[The following bit of futuristic science fiction isn’t terribly long to read but has much to say regarding our own global current situation and condition. It doesn’t propose solutions but is a good reminder of how “stuff” can go from cause and effect to greater cause and effect until “humans” are just pawns in powers they think they set in motion but can never control.]  

“Until humankind came into contact with the Amnion, it was easy to believe that guttergangs would eventually rule the Earth.

In one sense, their roots were as old as crime. “The poor you have with you always,” said Christ, not inaptly. However, he might have gone on to observe that poverty had no meaning in the absence of wealth: where all have nothing, all are equal—and none poor. From the moment when human evolution first stumbled on the concept of having, some individuals or tribes or people had more while others had less. Predictably the disparity bred tension. In due course that tension led to violence—the taking away from those who had by those who had not.

As in all human endeavor, concerted action proved more effective than individual effort: groups could take more.

Gangs of one kind or another became inevitable as soon as having was invented.

In another sense, however, guttergangs were more recent. They were a product of modern mechanization and urbanization. More specifically, they were a symptom of as well as a reaction against the slow collapse of Earth’s social infrastructures.

Because the services of well-meaning but overtaxed communities could no longer feed or care for their young adequately; because educational systems tried harder to control than to excite their students; because transitional life-styles and intense technological changes eroded the ability of families to provide stability for their children; because humankind’s rush to exploit the planet and consume its resources led to a rising tide of poverty which no one could stem; because the fiscal policies of governments were designed primarily to defend the comfort of the few against the hunger of the many; and because, finally, no one could pay for enough police to combat crime: for all these reasons and more, guttergangs flourished throughout Earth’s sprawling urban structures with a vigor unprecedented in human history.

The gangs were starving, loveless, abused, despised, cornered: therefore they fought back. And they were able to fight back successfully because they wrested their survival from the same crumbling infrastructure which had created the conditions for their existence—thereby, of course, hastening the decline of that infrastructure; worsening the state of people who lived within rather than against Earth’s social compacts; encouraging the growth of more guttergangs.

Much like corporations or governments, they bred chaos around them for the sake of creating order for themselves. Creating nothing, producing nothing, they took away what other people produced or created. More than that, they took away the very constructs and compacts which enabled creation and production to occur. They were parasites on the body of human civilization, just as civilization itself was a parasite on the body of the planet. Some cynics argued that they represented the inevitable outcome of humankind’s imprecise moral sense: rapacity and selfishness carried to logical extremes.

Sooner or later, parasites usually lose. They feed on their host until the host dies; and with the death of the host, the parasites themselves starve away. But the guttergangs were too entrenched to be rooted out by anything short of complete cataclysm or absolute tyranny. And the development of the gap drive made their existence more secure rather than less.

Interstellar travel supplied humanity with the opportunity to exploit distant asteroid belts and planetary systems; in other words, with a vast increase of available wealth. Naturally the influx of new resources shored up Earth’s tottering infrastructures—which in turn gave the guttergangs more to live on. By prolonging the life of the host, the gap drive gave the parasites more time in which to spread and multiply; increased the rate at which the parasites devoured the host.

It was easy to believe that guttergangs would eventually rule the Earth.

This entire societal equation was altered, however, by contact with the Amnion. The discovery of a fundamental, insidious, and above all external threat to humankind’s existence turned the tide of history against the guttergangs.

The effects of this discovery were not simple. Obviously the struggle for the survival of the race would take place hundreds or thousands of light-years away, and would be carried on by the forces of the infrastructure. The fate of humankind would be decided elsewhere: the guttergangs would live or die with their host. By the ordinary laws of parasitism, therefore, neither society nor the guttergangs had any reason to change. Yet the knowledge of an enemy they could not see and would never have to fight changed the guttergangs profoundly.

They did not suddenly discover patriotism, of course. They did not put aside their clenched internecine attack on all social structures outside their own for the sake of humankind’s greater good. Nevertheless they were human beings—genophobic to the core. Like patriots and religionists, environmentalists and native Earthers, nations and corporations, politicians and cops, they could not stifle the visceral frisson of their revulsion against imperialism by mutation.

By degrees too small to be measured, too small even to be noticed in the short term, the guttergangs began to erode.

This process took any number of forms. As one crude example: thanks to the Amnion, the appetite of the UMCP for young bodies was as intense as, and inherently more comfortable than, the guttergangs’. Active recruitment by the police gave the hungry youth of Earth a choice distinct from the more passive, as well as more brutal, accretion of the guttergangs.

Or a more subtle instance: hating and fearing the Amnion, the ordinary people of Earth—the natural prey of the guttergangs—had less hatred and fear to spare for those gangs. Therefore in complex, almost indefinable ways the guttergangs began to lose their mystique, their attraction for the lost and disenfranchised of the planet. In comparison to the Amnion, the gangs were perceived as more bearable, more manageable, more normal; therefore less threatening to humankind—and less appealing to humankind’s downtrodden. Over time, no human enterprise could oppose—or remain unchanged by—this kind of perceptual shift.

Slowly across the decades, genophobia united humankind against its common foe.

Cynics saw this turning of the tide as a demonstration that prejudice was the only true survival instinct humanity had left. Less cynical observers had difficulty deciding whether to be grateful or terrified.”

 

The Elita Theorem

[a short story by  Sha’Tara]
(Inspired, in part, by Isaac Asimov’s “Prelude to Foundation)

 Ansar and Elita were what you would call lovers.  Ansar was a member of the galactic arch-council located at that time on the pivotal world they called Juno.  Elita was mathematician and social historian at the famed university of Urtank, in the central high mountains of Sector T-41 of planet Quatl-Iln.  The following is a time-captured record of a brief exchange that took place in those long ago days after Elita worked out a program from a theory that stated that “time” was primarily a recording device in which could be read both past and future events.  The sharper the “reader” the more accurate would the reading of the sought events be.  It is all old hat now, as they say, but in the years prior to mankind’s initial scattering from his original galaxy (circa year 22,000 old reckoning) this was considered very naïve and pseudo-scientific.  But let’s hear what they were saying…

“We have a past, you know, Ansar.  A real past, which to this day society insists on dubbing a myth.  I’ll be brief.  We originated on one world only and you’ve heard that “myth” before, I’m sure.  You don’t buy it, but I do.  And then I don’t.”

“Make some sense, Elita.  Don’t speak to me in your usual riddles.  Either you do, or you don’t.  You can’t have it both ways.”

“No riddle.  Just simple fact which I can have “both ways” as you so eloquently put.  Our world of origin in the preserved language was called earth.  There mankind evolved, so it was thought, and taught, and from there he spread his wings and flew away to discover the galaxy.  And now, we are once more precariously balanced upon the horns of an old dilemma.  For centuries our real growth has been in decline.  At the same time, mankind is again looking beyond his doorstep, this time looking to jump to other galaxies and perhaps begin again.  And I can generally predict what is going to happen.  We are going to make the jump.  We will “begin” again and what we leave behind will continue to decline, to shrivel upon itself and die.  As did earth.”

“How do you know this?”

“Mathematical projection says so.  Observation says so.  Simple statistical projection says so.  Increasingly indolent ways of a pampered population says so.  Breakthroughs in non-ship-non-moving travel says so.  Shortages in resources marginalizing and starving millions of poorer planets says so.   The leadership vacuum says so.   Before rebellions and total war engulf the galaxy, you will have a scattering.  These scatterings are the seedings, and every time a group of humans seeds itself upon a new world as yet untouched by previous human presence and exploitation, that group is irreversibly changed.  Those who survive become, to the eyes of those left behind (if they are able to see) either monsters, mutants, or super-human depending on the point of view.  And, what was left behind fears these who have escaped.  Their authorities pursue them, hoping to control them and to feed from them.  Failing that, trying to destroy them.” 

“But what does any of that say to your belief that some mythical world called earth was man’s original world?”

“Don’t you see?  Earth man was a seedling.  It was planted on that ancient now long-gone world and it flourished there.  But it did not actually originate there.  It did not, as was then claimed, physically evolve from the muck and mire of the planet, anymore than we evolved from the rocky strata of this stony world.  The early people of earth were ruled and enslaved by their forebears but in their fevered discovery of new-found abilities, they shook off the yoke of their masters, of the sowers, and unmindful of the consequences, literally exiled themselves upon their world with no means of leaving, or of contacting any other possible sown worlds.  So engrossed did they become with self-discovery and exploitation of their world that they soon forgot how they got there.  New leadership, fearful of having to share power with galactic powers, ordered the re-writing of history and established religions that relegated the real-life human sowers to ineffable divinities to be idolized in worship.  

It would be thousands of years before the ever-present urge to resume the sowing cycle would obsess these Earthians and they would abandon their internecine warfare to concentrate on going to the stars.  Predictably they did so, for we are here.  And predictably, they carried with them the belief that they originated on earth, thus making that world the ruling world of the galaxy.  Sadly, that is why it was slagged by the “new” children who did not tolerate that a backward little planet so far from galactic centre would rule over the whole.   Much was lost in the destruction of earth but the greatest loss was in records of what happened so long ago, before Earthians were solidly established on their new world.  Records of previous generations, previous intelligences, previous star-farers who gave birth to Earthians and thence, to us.  We must re-discover those records.”  

“You make a persuasive argument but I remain unconvinced.  You have no real proof that what you have conjured could ever have some basis in  fact.” 

“Proof.  People put so much faith in that word.  But perhaps there is proof.  If I could actually and correctly predict a specific future event using certain formulas I’ve developed, would you consider that proof that we can draw out reality from the chaos of the unknown?”

“If, indeed!  Yes, if you could predict exactly a certain future event, I’d see that as proof.  But what about the past?”

“But don’t you see it?  There is no difference.  If we can accurately predict the future, we can just as accurately “predict” what happened in the unknown past.  Let’s say that your family drove to a certain town while you were in your mother’s womb.  Once in that new town, you were born there.  The family possessed a past that was not yours.  However, when old enough to drive, you could choose to drive forward from that town, or to, in a sense, retrace your family’s steps by driving back down the road into the past.  Some things would be different, but you could verify that the world they spoke of did in fact exist. 

I believe that my computer program and my calculations can do this for mankind and perhaps much more.  Certainly we will be able to “verify” not only where we are going, but where we come from. There are those who are so intent on destroying all vestiges of the old myths.  They want to destroy the old religions that have clung to mankind from the earth days to now.  The way to demystify the past is not by pretending or claiming it did not happen, but by proving it did happen, and demonstrating how it did so.  The ancient “gods” then become simple humans with what would be to us very primitive technology and were neither eternal nor all-powerful non-material beings as fabricated religions have falsely claimed for so long until now.” 

“Interesting.  With our funding, you claim you can develop this new science that will show not only how our future will develop but prove that the mythical past did in fact happen?  Will there be more to your argument when you present it to the Council for, what must certainly become, substantial additional funding?”

“Do I need more?  Are you not curious?  Would you not risk a few billion credits to find out where you came from and where you are going in, say, a thousand years from now?  If we, as humans, must continue to bootstrap our ways across parsecs and eons of space-time, can’t we at least secure stronger and longer straps for ourselves?  Must our existence continue to be an endless, chaotic gamble against the forces of time and the universe?  Must we forever be running from our enemies, be they competing intelligences or depleted environments, and towards unknown conditions that may test us beyond our abilities to resist and overcome?  I think that what we term “expanded awareness” has to include an ability to remember the distant past and to appropriate to certainty a much longer portion of the future.  We cannot continue to launch ourselves as dandelion seeds in the winds for the day will come when we will literally fall in among an inimical race that will destroy us, probably out of fear of our predatory ways coupled with our unnaturally prolific birthrate.  We are predators, Ansar, and represent a very real threat to any other intelligent species already established around us.  It would be extremely naïve to think we have not been noticed.  If we know the future, we can avoid such an encounter and prevent catastrophe to ourselves.” 

“My curiosity is certainly not as expanded as yours, love.  But I’ll support you on Council even though I don’t share your enthusiasm for socio-history.  I would be satisfied if you could predict the next day of windless sunshine so we could go mountain climbing.  What do you say to that?”

“Just the two of us?”

“Just the two of us.”

“Would you accept an educated guess?”

“I will, but I have one condition.”

“Ah?”

“Will you accept my ring?  It will be a year tomorrow since the last time you said ‘no’ to me.”

“I accept your ring, Ansar.  Without conditions. As to the weather, my guess is the wind will have to be reckoned with but safe enough for experts like us.” 

 It was ten years later that Elita’s group in Urtank saw the first fruits of her efforts.  It was another twenty-three years before the theory was fully tested when a no-ship “fleet” consisting of seventeen billion people jumping off from Juno would have encountered an enemy force that would have destroyed them had they not “seen” this prior to departure and changed course accordingly.  Two hundred years after that, as this inimical intelligence began to seriously encroach upon new human settlements, it was caught in a 5-pronged attack by humans and was annihilated.  These perfectly timed attacks were devised using the Elita Theorem of time recordings.  

To add a little explanation to this theory, let me just say that it resembles the reading of those old movie strips.  Once a “time line” is focused upon, the computer can “play” the “image frames” either forward or backward.  An identical “time line” can be read from any number of different places, even distant galaxies, without distortion.  Hence the possibility of simultaneous action at vast distances. 

And so we are in the process of conquering the universe.  What will we do, should we discover that our universal space-time model does not apply beyond our universal borders?  Who will break through the next mystery should the Elita theorem fail at that point? Are we still curious enough to dare go and find out? Do we even have a choice?

 

The Gathering

(A simple story with some questions at the end…)

[short story… by  ~burning woman~  ]

The Ancient surveyed the group with his mind.  “I see we are all gathered – let us proceed.  Agenda, please.” 

Orija closes her eyes and intones: “This Great Gathering, ninth of a series of ten, is called to decide the fate of the Sol system in which lies a planet called Earth which has been of concerns to Gathering for some years now. This meeting will address those aspects that lie within our jurisdiction.”

“Very well.  Please begin.  I recognize Volarian Mosl as the first delegate.”

 “The Volarians are, hm, quite uncomfortable with the energies emanating from the Sol planet called Earth.  Without going into details already well known to this august body, we propose a terminal solution before the discomfort spreads further.  It is known to us that some Belgelians have offered limited space folding capabilities to a segment of Earthian humans who claim descent from those known to us as the Nibiruans.  As a result we have been forced to strengthen our shields against the possibility of a sudden eruption of Earth humans — whom we consider to be corrupted beyond redemption –within our space.  The situation among my people is volatile as we have not had to deal with outer world aggression in long ages.  Even our oldest mages cannot remember the days of war.  We are asking, once more, that this Gathering do something definitive to resolve this issue.  We do not wish to wait for another Gathering.  If nothing is done now, our space guild will take action as it sees fit to protect both our space and our trade routes.”

“Thank you Volarian Mosl.  Your position is clear to us.  Who else wishes to express thoughts on the Earthian problem?”

 “I, Jessik, ambassador for the autarch of Narssis wish to express our thoughts on the matter?”

 “Yes, ambassador Jessik, you may speak freely.”

 “Thank you.  I have a question to pose to the gathering.  Regarding the Earthian humans, as a species evolved on only one world, with limited intervention from outer world peoples, can it be said here, before this august gathering, that over the time we have watched them, they have been freely given all the necessary information needed to move in a direction,  or should I say, to develop in a way consistent with that of the rest of the Galactic family?  Can any Earthian claim that we, in some way, failed to give them all the necessary support to develop their minds and their hearts in accord with the Galactic aim of cooperation and mutual support for the sake of life?

 “This is of paramount importance to us Narssisians as adjudicators of the Galactic Code.  Should Earthians discover the workings within the Galaxy once they leave their planet, they may be instructed by some to put in a planetary claim that critical information was withheld from them and  further claim that whatever crime they could to be charged with, such as genocide or planeticide, would not apply since they were ignorant of the basic requirements of the Galactic code?”

 “The question has been heard and entered.  Would the Angels respond to ambassador Jessik’s question?”

“We are the Angels of Aglamar” responds in perfect unison a chorus of voices from unseen entities scattered throughout the Gathering, “and we will respond to the question truthfully. 

 “Since the beginning, the Earthian human species has been observed, guided, taught and shepherded by the very best of our specially trained Guardians.  Many went and lived on the Sol planet Earth as teachers.  It was not unexpected that the earlier Guardians would be treated unfairly and unkindly by the fearful, hate-filled creatures.  It was however quite unheard of that this treatment would continue and intensify.  After waves of persecution of those who heard and obeyed the teachings of the Guardians, it was decided not to send any more.  We chose instead to contact Earthians through the use of thought forms, awakening empathy in some of them.  It was our thought that Earthians would be more likely to listen to their own.  But again experience gained on other worlds failed us here.  They did not listen.  They have grown increasingly belligerent with the development of their modern technical skills.

“They used the knowledge brought to them to develop an inhuman form of technology that has rendered them insensitive and brutish.  What limited knowledge of the good we sowed among them over the millennia was apparently and for all practical purposes, lost, or deliberately discarded.  Few there are of Earth who today understand even a little of what life is about and we have plans with the Galactic Space Guild to attempt a rescue of this remnant. 

 As Angel Guardians, it is our intent at this juncture to withdraw ourselves from any further involvement with that species of humanity.  Sadly we conclude they are lost.  We regret to so inform the Gathering.”

“Ah, thank you Angel Guardians of Aglamar.  The darkness of sorrow clouds our thoughts on this matter.  Do we wish to continue this Gathering?”

 “Representative Weill-Straat from Qobel.”

 “Yes, representative.”

 “Qobel resents the implication that Earth is of no value.  We have put much energy to develop a plan for adding Earth to our interplanetary trade franchises.  Qobellian trade ships are orbiting the planet, out of the range of their scanners and shielded, of course,  awaiting the results of several delegations sent secretly to many of the greater Earthian trading houses which they call Banks and Corporations.  As always we are advocates of free choice, therefore free trade. 

“We believe that the Earthians are uniquely adapted to engage fully in interplanetary trade and understand its function better even than some Qobellians, to our shame.  There is a native trait in the Earthians that renders them immune to any suffering their trading may bring to life, including the life of members of their own species.  They understand the value of trade and the necessity of sacrifice to further its reach.  In fact, one of their most admirable traits is their willingness to sacrifice any number of lives for the benefit of trade and to go to war to protect and enhance trade on their world.  To us, the Earthians demonstrate the only hope for further advancement of civilization as we have developed it on Qobel. The wish of Qobel therefore is that we be given a free hand to fully interact with Earthian trading houses.”

 “Thank you, representative Qobel.  Is there anyone else here who wishes to address this issue?”

 “Yes, I would please.  My name is Lisa Echabar.  I am, huh, was, from Earth.”

 “Lisa Echabar from Earth.  You may address the Gathering.”

 “I had wished to say something profound on behalf of my world but after listening to the delegates, I am afraid my voice will seem rather small, frail and distant.  Perhaps even confused.  Yes, I am confused.  I wish to speak for Earth but everything said here about the people is, sadly, quite correct.  They have been given all the knowledge needed to live up to the demands of the Galactic code.  I know because my tribe lived according to the code and we were happy and healthy for long years.  It was because of our adherence to the code that my tribe was enslaved and finally destroyed.  Earth was an abundant planet under the rule of the code.  No one ever needed to go without either food or shelter.  It was known, and it is known, even to the technos, that peace is better than war – but never quite as profitable.  It was, and is, known to all that health is better than disease, but also not as profitable.  It was, and is, known that cooperation is superior to aggression, but again, not as profitable. 

“I have a complaint to voice at this Gathering and that is, when the predator/prey concept was surreptitiously introduced to Earth, where were the Angel Guardians then?  Did you not know that such a concept would bring horror upon a world designed originally to be a simple paradise of loving interaction between all the species of life upon it?  Or did you know but choose to do nothing to prevent this deadly poison from being brought to us? 

“I will tell you what happened to my world and to my people.  Both were given free will and free choice much sooner than they were able to understand their implications and responsibilities. The freedom came before the knowledge was given.  So it turned to lust and degradation.  When the knowledge was finally introduced, it was too late.  The poison was burning in every heart and every mind.  Only those scattered in small tribes in deserts, mountains or small islands on the seas escaped for a time.  But it came to them also, and when it did, they died by the millions.  I myself was a victim of the technos. 

“Perhaps it is not entirely the Earthians’ fault that they are as they are.  Perhaps they are not redeemable, and certainly this Gathering cannot pay heed to Belgelian and Qobel desires to take advantage of their inhuman trait, their lack of empathy and their innate greed.  Better to let them destroy themselves and cause their planet to simply go to sleep under them, holding back her seasonal bounties until all surface life is gone.  Perhaps that would be the most compassionate thing to do. 

“To bring them out of their world at their current state of understanding would be to plunge the galaxy in endless wars.  To allow them to proliferate more would be to increase the level of suffering the many must endure to support the luxuries of the few.  There is no balance on Earth.  What love there is, if it can be called that, is of a sexual and predatory nature. 

“Since those of us who were willing to demonstrate a better way; who would have made a difference, are not wanted on Earth and since the Angel Guardians have decided to abandon their efforts on behalf of those who were once my people – but are no longer – I don’t know what else to say.  I am not condemning; I am not accepting.  I am simply stating.  Please understand I do not seek redress  or justice for myself in this.  I only wished to share my awareness and experience.  May this Gathering act wisely in this grave matter.”

“Thank you, Lisa Echabar, ambassador for Earth.  Your thoughts are felt and understood by the Gathering. A vote to decide the fate of planet Earth and its life will be taken by authorized representatives of the council at the next, and last, Gathering.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Earth humanity, known as Homo Sapiens is a very ignorant and smug species.  That such as the above could actually be taking place, seems of no consequence here.  That the planet itself is showing signs of serious stress and possible environmental collapse is of little consequence. What matters is business as usual, let the consequences be borne by others.  That over 30,000 innocents die each day of preventable causes is acceptable collateral damage for the sake of free trade.  “The spice must flow” as the spacing guild navigators are fond of saying in Frank Herbert’s Dune novels.  Whatever the cost, resources must flow to the factories, and the goods must flow to the stores and from thence, to the homes to be turned into garbage and effluent.  That such garbage and effluent require the living sacrifice of 30,000 innocents – mostly babies and young children – each and every day, is cool; not a shocking revelation but just more “so what, there’s too many people on the planet anyway;” crass justification for the piratical profit from imposition of sanctions and maintenance of deadly endless wars.

Do we possess the knowledge to make our world into a paradise but simply refuse to do so?  Are we without empathy for those who suffer and die because of a system we support for our selfish ends?  Are we doomed; an irredeemable, violent, vicious, mindless species?  Is there no longer any choice, or are we unwilling to pay the price required for change? 

And what is that price?  What does life demand of us?  Of me? 

Now, who’s going to be the first to tell me to get into the spirit of Christmas?

 

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #75

I keep moving back, back, drawing him to me as a magnet draws steel. I move in and out of trance, sometimes seeing an SS guard, complete with the dreaded insignia on the coat – he knows of my ancient morbid fear of men in police or military uniforms. Sometimes I see a Melkiar robot in gleaming black metallic armour and the staff becomes a death tube. Sometimes it’s a giant demon from hell, his black carapace smoking and his eyes red laser beams. Then I see a human being desperate to escape the mould his vices have locked him into for eternity or until his Valkyrie, his Avenging Angel of Death and Ultimate Mercy kills him and pulls his soul from it. I see an evil black hooded Darth Vader from an Old Earth flatvid sci-fi production coming at me with a red light stick.

End blog post #74
_________________

Begin blog post #75

For one full hour we go through the motions of a fight. We dance around each other, doing no real damage. I have not yet taken the stim hidden in my hair nor have I had to use my bionic enhancements. Warmo is unlike anything I’ve ever encountered in this place. There is something utterly inhuman in him. He carries his own enhancements; a combination of power that reeks of hell. I am repulsed by the thoughts in his mind. His darkness is terrible. His body exhudes a foul stench of putrefaction.

My mind probe tells me he drank the blood of some of his victims mixed in chakr; that he is addicted to it. Have I now met a real life humanoid vampire? And how do you kill a vampire? With a wooden stake through the heart. Did it have to be precisely at midnight? I cannot remember but I know that the Old Earth tale of horror has in fact manifested itself on Malefactus, at least for me. How many times did I warn people on Old Earth that everything they ever thought, wrote about, dreamed of, or imagined, had to become a living manifestation in some dimension? That they would in some future incarnation either encounter their creations or be one of them? Malefactus would be a custom-made world for human vampires if one existed and was actually killed on Old Earth. Here is where it would naturally re-incarnate.

I am repelled and fascinated by this vision or revelation. I jump out of trance and watch the human part of him struggling with me. His attacks are fast and subtle. He has devious and unexpected moves, but that’s not where his focus lies. He’s drawing me into a place of his own choosing, like a flame draws a moth. He does not intend to kill me with his weapons, at least not directly. Yes – and I think he allows me to know this – he is going to have poison put on his dagger, but that too is a side show. He’s got something else in mind. I take a chance and trance again. Now I’m met with a barrage of confusing images. I won’t get anymore information, he’s sensed my probe and is blocking. I jump out and now it’s time for the physical approach.

One and one half hours and nothing to show for it. We are both as fresh and cool as when we began. It’s as if we were just floating over the sand. There is no blood. Ah, blood. Vampires like blood, particularly women’s blood. What will happen to his cool exterior if he sees blood on me? Will it weaken or empower him? Will he become wary or will he attack? I decide no blood. Let his be the first. I change my tactics with a violent rush and stab him in the thigh. First blood drawn. He seems surprised, backs off a little then smiles at me. His hand slips down into the blood and he licks the protecting gauntlet.

In turn he attacks violently. I engage my bionics then and parry his attack easily. I smack his gauntlet-protected fingers but still that had to smart. I spin my staff and do a Deirdre pole vault over him coming down behind and smashing into his shin so hard my staff vibrates in my hands. He almost falls over, recovers, spins and lays his staff to my shoulder. A powerful individual. My shoulder remains numb for a few seconds and throbs like hell. I jump back out of reach. We both survey the space between us. Who attacks next? Our eyes lock.

He comes to me in a crouch as low as he dares and tries to enter below my defences to cut into my calf. The slicing edge of the staff point comes to millimetres of my dancing foot but fortunately for me he attacked my bionic side. A blur is all his staff goes through. But the move is enough to allow him to pull the long sword which he wields with one hand while still using the staff to block my blow to his head. Part of it connects and he drops the staff to come around with the deadly sword. If I parry with my staff he’ll cut it in half. If I don’t I’m dead. That’s what my brain tells me. My training. I drop into trance to slow him down in my mind. First I see him kick his fallen staff over the low wall so I can’t grab it. Then I see the sword engaging the staff and cutting it cleanly in half. I see a huge nick in the sword weakening the blade, throwing off the balance, rendering it useless in this sort of intricate combat.

He finishes his turn, kicking his staff out over the wall where a guard picks it up and holds it. Instead of parrying his deadly swath with the middle of the staff I give him the blunt end to bite into. A quarter of the staff goes flying but his sword has the nick in it I saw in the vision. I rebalance the remaining piece of staff, engage the extender fully and return to the attack. I force him to cut at the staff again. He does, cuts through the staff again but shatters his sword near the half point. I pursue him madly now. He parries with a half sword and I attack with less than a half staff. It would be comical if our lives did not lie in the balance. We continue, no choice. Only the “time out” trumpet can stop this.

I realize that in my eagerness I’ve activated my front sole blades. I try to quickly find a way to use them because they are now obstructing my steps. Damn stupid woman, you call yourself a professional gladiator? A trainee would have known not to do that! I parry another truncated sword slash to the side. He connects enough to cut in my right thigh through the side slit in the tunic. My blood flows and I can sense him licking his lips. He smiles. Attacks. Comes closer. Just as he comes in for another cut I lift my bionic leg and drive the foot blade deep into his arm then pull back. The moment of shock is enough for me to retract the damn blades and regain my natural stance and begin a whole new dance. Now I feel my sweat, but it’s more of a cold sweat than exertion. He secretes a smell of death, and it’s not a carry-over from his victims in the dungeons. It’s in his blood! I got a sure whiff of it from the stabbed arm.

While I draw him after me again I marvel at the design and temper of those short blades in the sandals. It penetrated cheelth as if it was paper and I’d be willing to bet there is hardly any dulling of the cutting edges. Way to go Master Smith, I love you!

End blog post #75

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #74

It’s a simple, age-old choice.

One, I believe and I trust the High Priest to know better than I ever could. In his hands I die a sacrifice to the God as I have been in the habit of doing over and over.

Two, I walk to the Knight, kneel, accept the knighthood proffered. I take the weapons, walk past the altar into the room where the demon in black metal armour awaits my entrance. He is ready to fight me, dishonour me, kill and devour me along with all I have ever loved and cared for, living or dead.

That is the choice I have been moving towards since I evolved into ISSA consciousness. This choice determines whether I graduate, or remain in obedient subservience and servitude to a Higher Power.

I choose the weapons. I go to meet Warmo. It is time.

End blog post #73
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Begin blog post #74

I am given a light early meal and in another upset, I am dressed in a sleeveless short white cotton shift. Even my trainers give a slight bow of the head to me. I feel like sobbing out loud, this is such an emotional affair. I am overwhelmed and embarrassed by it all. The kitchen staff is allowed to come out and wave to me. The overseer comes over and touches my shoulder and whispers a typical T’Sing Tarleynan good luck saying that translates roughly as “keep the sun shining” and pats me on the head. I needed that little bit of ‘enlightenment’ to bring me back to ground level.

I thank the old overseer from the heart and let him see my face covered in grateful tears while I smile openly, freely. I silently wish them all well.

‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, all of you wonderful people who are demonstrating your real humanity today. I bless you all…’

But their inane law prevents me from saying the words to them aloud. So I carry them in my heart, for now. And in my mind I plant them in the soil of this place, under the paving stones. In time, perhaps they will emerge and fill all the cracks in these structures.

And I’m led into the arena to meet my arch rival, my nemesis who has hounded me through so many lives and given me so many nightmares. Yet were it not for him I would never have found my way here, to this transition point.

When the crowd sees the female fighter in the white dress come forth to the armour and weapons table, they fall into dead silence. This has never been seen. Of course there is no riff-raff in this crowd, the prices of admission being astronomical. This is the day for the aristocracy to enjoy itself. Still, the silence prior to any fight is unnerving. I strip my dress off, stand naked as per protocol, do a few bending exercises to demonstrate my fitness and with some help, don my armour for the first fight involving the staff.

I have studiously avoided looking in Warmo’s direction. I want to use my so-called sixth sense and feel his presence rather than study him with my physical senses. It’s his mind/heart I must penetrate and remain vigilant over. To him I must project, send, nothing but white noise. I must block any thought aimed at me while attempting to read his. Remains to be seen how much of an adept he is at this game. Concentrate, focus, collect, withdraw, analyze, discard and repeat until nothing of value can be gained from the exercise.

An eternity and the centering trumpet sounds. I walk to the center, still looking down, not at him. I sense a slight discomfort from him. He is probing me with his eyes, ears and nose. To a much lesser extent I feel his mind probe but it is weak. I lift my head just enough to see his weapon and the arc it’s going to describe on the very first swing. I turn to the King’s dais and although I cannot see him, I know he’s watching his holo and has me on close-up. I salute with my staff held high at a slight upward tilt and bow. Then I wait without fear or tremor for the second trumpet.

As soon as it sounds I literally jump out of my trance and begin the dance with him. I already knew he would swing left and I parry, jumping back, not yet engaging my bionic ankle. I must ‘study’ his moves for he knows much more of mine than I of his. And I take careful note of the long sword in the scabbard on his back. I try to see if it is lashed with thongs I could cut with the cutting point of the staff – very unlikely.

I keep moving back, back, drawing him to me as a magnet draws steel. I move in and out of trance, sometimes seeing an SS guard, complete with the dreaded insignia on the coat – he knows of my ancient morbid fear of men in police or military uniforms. Sometimes I see a Melkiar robot in gleaming black metallic armour and the staff becomes a death tube. Sometimes it’s a giant demon from hell, his black carapace smoking and his eyes red laser beams. Then I see a human being desperate to escape the mould his vices have locked him into for eternity or until his Valkyrie, his Avenging Angel of Death and Ultimate Mercy kills him and pulls his soul from it. I see an evil black hooded Darth Vader from an Old Earth flatvid sci-fi production coming at me with a red light stick.

End blog post #74

Antierra Manifesto-blog post #72

That was the first and last addict I encountered in the compounds.  She lost her appetite for stim, at least around me.  I could have left my cube lying in her cage and she would not have touched it.  Maybe it was cruel; maybe it wasn’t funny but Tiki and I and a few other women laughed much over this unusual episode.  That it should happen at a time when I was flying so high was also of note.  The air of celebration continued until the day of the fight. 

End blog post #71
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Begin blog post #72

The Warmo, now a condemned prisoner, is escorted naked into our compound to choose his weapons.  There is much staring and gawking, but no noise as we had been warned the silence rule would be fully and viciously enforced while the Warmo was among us.  I could feel the tension and hate among the women.  There is not one here who would hesitate for one second to throw herself at him and tear off his balls and finish him off.  Well, he does not look cut.  He’s  not a eunuch so his lack of sexual desire towards his female victims must speak of something else.  Homosexual?  I could throw that in his face tomorrow.  And I’d just love to add that aberration to his public rap sheet!  Homosexuals are as common as sand here, but that can never be admitted to – another capital crime.  While female fighters and sex-slaves are expected to have same-sex lovers, males are prohibited from expressing themselves in similar fashion. 

I follow the Warmo’s movements as a hawk watches its prey.  What weapons will the rat choose?  The staff.  That’s good for me.  But he does not stop there.  He appears to have a special permit to use several weapons in any order he chooses.  He picks the long sword and the combination rapier and short sword.  Now I have to figure out his game.  There is no apparent sense to his choices so he’s worked out a system whereby he can defeat me with these choices.  I must logically deduce the reason behind his apparently random and meaningless choice.  He is escorted out and I ask permission to consider the weapons just chosen.  I watch the faces of the trainers when I make my request.  One of them sneers openly at me.  Ahah!  There is a connection between some information he has given Warmo and the choices.  Well, never mind that for the moment.  First concentrate in what order a thoroughly trained and professional fighter would use the particular weapons chosen.

First the staff.  Its strengths I am familiar with.  What are its weaknesses regarding the other weapons?  It’s long and thin.  A good blow across it with the large sword would easily weaken or even cut it in half.  Point one.  Warmo intends to switch weapons during the fighting, not during regular drinking breaks.  He starts with the staff, forcing me to match him, gets me engaged then switches to the sword and cuts into my weapon, breaking it and leaving me wide open to a thrust.  How does he intend to switch weapons so fast?

He cannot leave the sword just lying in the sand – a menace to his feet and I could grab it.  A scabbard!  He will be wearing the long sword on his back.  That has never been done in the arena but this is no ordinary fight.  We are billed as Beasts, therefore rules can be bent or broken to accommodate the fare.  Judges can be bought.  I have to remind myself of the awesome load of gambling money riding on this contest. 

Allowing for my intuition being correct, what about the rapier and dagger?  To carry poison.  Despite my invented stories I have no access to poison and besides I wouldn’t use it.  I intend to bring this creature down piecemeal, literally cutting him down to size.  I am the cat, he is the rat.  He may bite but I will get him in the end.  He is just one rat, not a pack.  This rat will use the long sword to tire me out if he hasn’t dispatched me with his switch already.  At the first opportunity he will trade for the rapier and dagger to make an opening for the poisoned tip to come in contact with my skin. 

What kind of poison?  Certainly the deadliest known.  It will be the concoction they call yalney, a deadly yellowish liquid stored in glass containers complete with glass stoppers.  Nothing else will hold it. If you put it on your blade it eats through it in about an hour on average.  They demonstrated this to me at the forge and I’ve never forgotten what it did to our beautiful steel.  It bubbles lightly and gels quickly on steel and you can pour it lightly over a surface that will contact flesh. 

Within fifteen minutes of contact anywhere on bare human skin the body begins to close on itself.  It impacts the nervous system, relaxing the muscles, first in the extremities then working its way to the heart.  The victim remains fully conscious for hours and finally goes into convulsions and spasms then death.  Very painful.  But imagine the pleasure the Warmo would derive from thus disabling me then proceeding to take me apart while I remain conscious?  He’d cut open my wrists and ankles and expose the bionic circuits to the judges.  He’d be vindicated…

Who will put the poison on his blade?  It would have to be put on while we are fighting, not before or it will have eaten through by then.  One of the floor judges or an assistant.  While we are on a drinking break.  Of course, simple.  After the break, he casually switches weapons as if nothing was out of the ordinary. 

I’m in a bit of a sobered state of mind now.  I realize I have my work cut out for myself in that fight.  Time to assess my strengths – I know my weaknesses and have dealt with that, perhaps a bit too much.  You can easily psych yourself out that way too.

Analysis of strengths. 

I’m at least as proficient in the use of weapons as is the Warmo.  I’m younger and faster.  I have bionic implants.  I have more recent training and most likely I possess superior weapons, simply because the “new and improved” ones were not in the weapons lock-up cases when Warmo made his choices.  My “special house blend” including all armour and my ‘magic’ sandals, is now being prepared and packed for the arena and will be safely stashed into the weapons lock-up shortly. 

Tiki was sent down to the forge to let the smiths know of Warmo’s choices.  I have already advised the chief smith I want him to personally bring up the weapons and armour, not to entrust them to his young charges.  I fear the jealousy and hatred of that young apprentice may have spread to the others and could result in deliberate sabotage or “accidental loss” of my weapons package.  Any such misadventure would certainly result in my death.  Who knows how long Warmo’s arm still reaches throughout the keep of Hyrete?  Who can know who’s been bought?

So much is riding on this match to the death.  So much, for the women of the keep, especially for Tiki; for my friend the doctor and his Cydroids.  At this moment I hold their fate in my hands.

I know that according to Elbran law, if the male “criminal” kills his female fighter, he is exonerated of all charges against him.  If this were to happen, Warmo would immediately be given his position and power back.  He would re-open his torture dungeons and sweep through the women’s compound to grab any of them who ever fought with me, were trained by me, slept with me or in some way befriended me.  Such is the pattern of psychotic hate.  I remember it so well from a life on Old Earth in C-20.  They called themselves Nazis, and the worst ones (called distilled villainy by one of my history professors in a following life) were SS guards.  You were guilty by association and torture was automatic if arrested. How many would Warmo claim?  How many tortured to death? 

No, this will not happen.  I have a job to do.  My training and my enhancements were all gifts to me exactly for this moment.  XBA9 was tortured to death so I would have this opportunity.  This is one of those classic turning points in history when one person, one “hero” can make the difference and everything changes, forever.

End blog post #72

 

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #65

(In which Antierra faces her most challenging arena combat to-date which she hopes will score a very important point for the empowerment of women in Elbre.)

To all of this, much more and repetitively, Tiki listens.  I can feel her tensing at times, and wanting to speak but even here in these dreadful compounds there is an order.  When the older women engage certain topics among themselves, the young stay quiet.  They are expected to listen but may never interrupt.  Those who do are quietly but viciously “punished” by the older ones in the training compounds.  When they are punished, they know why.  Thus the women discipline ‘their’ children even under these circumstances.  Of course of those we are given, we can discipline freely.  They are our slaves.
End blog post #64
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Begin blog post #65

Chapter 28 – Vengeance as a Redemptive Act

Through Tiki I have been contacted by the female Cydroid who works as a goronda in the kitchens.  The Koronese “sting” operation on Warmo and his infernal inquisition has been successfully concluded, details to be given to me in the future should I require them.  Yes, XBA9 was tortured to death as was expected and his “re-cloning” (at astronomical cost to Dr. Echinoza and his associates on Koron) was immediately implemented when XBA9’s death on T’Sing Tarleyn was confirmed and officially accepted on Koron.

I am told that the King ordered a secret raid on Warmo’s dungeons following the death of a “terrorist” whose activities the King wanted to know more about.  All the victims of Warmo’s torture, alive, dying or dead but still on the stakes, were taken out into a secure courtyard for official examination.  Warmo was arrested on a technicality to do with a health code violation.  Apparently he failed to remove the decomposing bodies of his victims and keep the floors and walls disinfected and a member of his entourage got sick from accidental contact with the bodies.

Again I must point out the twisted logic on how laws are used in pseudo-ISSA societies.  I saw many such inanities when dealing with “environmental” or “health” related issues on Túat Har.  There never were any doubts in my mind then that the endless legal subterfuges used by the courts to hide real crimes through the prosecution of misdemeanours would inevitably result in the great die-back.  There never was the will to tackle the real problems because that would have exposed all the powers that be and all the rulers, leaders, CEO’s including the great heads of organized Religion.

But back to my story here.  The “member” in Warmo’s employ – one of the Cydroids – blew the whistle.  Another Cydroid, a member of the King’s legal counsel group, laid the charges against Warmo.  After short deliberation and the additional startling discovery that the “terrorist” was a confidant of the King and friend of the court, Warmo was officially pronounced guilty.  As you know, all crimes on Malefactus are capital crimes.  Warmo was given the chance to redeem himself through a fight to the death in the arena.  He naturally jumped at the chance and when he was told I would be his opposing fighter, he apparently raised his fist in the air and yelled, “I finally get to kill that bitch!”

All the men in the compound, from the overseer to the medics, are aghast at the bold move by the King and his counselors in reaching down into the official inquisition’s affairs and condemning “the” Warmo.  The man is well known in Elbre.  Before the previous King gave him the position of chief torturer – it is well known that the King used to go and watch Warmo work and sometimes provide him with interesting victims for the fun of it – Warmo had been a drook.

His reputation was so that no owner of female fighters would enter them against him and he had no more takers by the time he was promoted to be the King’s Grand Inquisitor.  He killed with precision and mastery but more, with utter malice.  Warmo was (and remains) a consummate misogynist.  He literally tortured opposing fighters before killing them.  No one died quickly at his hands.  He would entertain the crowds with blows and cuts, to maim and disfigure after he’d tired his opponent.  Even if the fighter quit and lay down to die, he’d continue beating and cutting as long as he could make her endure.  He never sexually assaulted his victims and the story spread that he was a eunuch.

Well, maybe I’ll find out.  In the case of Warmo, I’m going to be utterly “human” in performing my own ritual with him in the arena.  Yes, I know I should not be so cocky, that anything can go wrong, that I am supposed to be a new person with a new outlook on life and that I need to be humble in all things.  Sure, I know all that, just as you know all that.  But again, there is that which I call compromised morality.  This is not about me, even though I will be the center of interest and attraction.

This is much more than personal.  This fight is a social comment and a political statement.  It is of paramount importance that my purpose is not to survive an arena fight against a powerful drook, but meant to avenge his victims, particularly the female ones.  I must be more than the ultimate fighter; I must also be the consummate actress to demonstrate that I am indeed the avenger.

In exacting vengeance on Warmo I will be causing the deliberate humiliation of a once “great” man and performing an elaborate execution by torture to be done by a woman to a man.  This must be seen by all, and reported openly.  This is my ultimate dare and my chance to make these males see what a fearless, self-empowered woman can do.

Even if after the fight I am publicly flogged to death or otherwise killed for my temerity, for having dared flaunt my womanhood towards a man, I must do this.  The law is clear on this: the penalty for a woman demonstrating power over a man (other than in the handling of weapons, of course) is death.  The choice of death, if it comes on that day, will be given to the crowd to decide.  Not likely will it be a mercy killing.

Nevertheless, there must be no doubt that I am meeting this monster in my own capacity as monster.  The meeting of Beast Warmo and the Desert Beast.  The stakes will likely be the highest the gambling  world has ever heard of.  The betting will go ‘through the roof’ as the saying went.

I have two weeks to prepare myself for this event.  It’s not that either Warmo or I need that time, but the longer the event is delayed, the higher the stakes will rise, and the farther the news will reach so betting will take place in all the major centers of Elbre, and perhaps even beyond.  This is “play off” time and the Big Money will be in evidence everywhere.  This also means that in the meantime, fewer women will be fought in the arenas as the money will be hoarded for the main event.  That also is a great victory to me, although I can see an uglier side to this as well.

I hear the King has decreed there is to be but one fight in the arena of Hyrete on that day, regardless of how quickly it ends.

Also, the day of the “Fight of the Beasts” as it is billed is to be a kingdom-wide holiday.

I wonder how that will affect the non-fighter women and girls in the kingdom?  They won’t see any holiday; in fact they will have a greater load to bear as a result of the partying, visiting, merry-making and the various needs for exotic pleasures and entertainment.  There is also the very real danger that should the fight cause great losses of money, and I am the one who causes it by killing the Warmo, innocent women will bear the brunt of reprisals in a surge of hate and anger against women in general.  This is, after all as I have already said, a world at war and in any war it is always the innocents who suffer the most.

Tiki and I speak of the coming fight.  This girl is no fool.  She understands her world and moves within its twisted ways with a skill born of breeding and necessity.  If it’s information she wants, she gets it quietly and quickly and she deduces much from what is not being said or publicized.

I don’t have to explain the Inquisition or Warmo to her.  She gets as much as I could tell her from her contacts which she has naturally developed as she works the kitchens, the yard and the cages.  By now everybody knows her and she has had many offers to leave me and share younger flesh in other cages.  She could do it, if she wanted it badly enough.  Yes, she belongs to me, in a sense, but she could “trade” herself for another, say an older trainee who wanted to ingratiate herself to me for special training.  This old human trading for advantage, for favours, is found everywhere except in the most advanced and evolved world touching the top edge of ISSA consciousness.  No matter where I’ve encountered this process, I’ve always found it particularly repugnant.

End blog post #65