Saturday, December 15, 2012


By Alex Humva:

He looked at the cold waters in front of him, then at the forest behind him. All around him, men and women were hauling materials; occasionally a small child would run back and forth, delivering messages. He himself held a crate of tools in his hands, but he allowed himself a minute or two of rest and recollection. It wasn't every day you went to a new land, after all. It was a new life, a new world for him to explore. An entire ocean rested between him and his old home now. It truly was something to marvel at, and something to fear at the same time.

Sighing, he carried the crate to a nearby pile of them, looking at the men sitting nearby playing a game of dice. Even so far out here, the work was being divided up amongst the unlucky. Some things would never change, even so far away. He put his crate down in a neat fashion and pried it open, revealing a number of axes. Pulling one out, he glanced at the group further away in the forest and went to join them. It took him some time but he finally arrived, lending his help to the men cutting down wood. The fall was here, and if they couldn't build shelter quickly then they'd all freeze in this new and unknown land. It was a tedious and hard job, but someone had to do it, and he was among one of the strongest youths in the party.

That night there were many celebrations, several fires roaring and the best of the salted meat roasted and eaten. The ale brought along was broken out and all were happy to have made the great journey safely. They were a tight band, seventy six heads if you included the three natives they had come across in the lands to the far north they passed while on the voyage. It was a marvelous party, and he enjoyed himself thoroughly throughout it. When it had all died down and many were asleep, he stayed up, gazing at the sky. Even though they had traveled thousands of miles, the stars still were the same. It was a strange thing that he doubted he'd ever understand.

Someone came from behind, a young woman. He smiled and they embraced, then looked at the stars together. The months ahead would test the mettle of all involved; society itself would have to be rebuilt. Houses would be erected, wells dug, hunting grounds established. Perhaps there would be combat with the natives; perhaps a famine would strike. Regardless, he knew he had to keep his spirits up. The gods would watch over them, he was sure. In his eyes he could see a prosperous future, thousands living in this Newfound land. There'd be children in the streets, bakers, farmers, blacksmiths, cities...

And so, with that, he returned to the camp and slept. Slept and waited for what tomorrow would bring.


by By Caleb/Cederak:


This galaxy is such a tranquil place if you should find the right places. Amid explosions full of radiation, stars consuming entire planets, the constant shift of celestial bodies moving about, peace is rare. Mankind's relationship with the stars has always been with a sense of terrifying adventure, and astronauts the cowboys of its blinding dark frontier.

Out here, on the planet CVM-783-09, better known as Verge, we are the cowboys. This settlement, out on the very edge of human-controlled space is a colony experiment to discover more about lands so foreign to the Earth that cradled us in our youth. High above Verge, an aura of bright emerald and cobalt shades are drawn in wisps, blurring out the star in the sky. It is an adolescent sun, soon to conclude its violent years, developing into a mature piece of the system. It is much like humanity in this way.

The settlement is a network of chrome metal structures that one might call a village back on Earth. Given that private companies spent billions to terraform Verge long before any scientific "egg heads" like myself came to live here, we and our children are free to breathe the air, climb alien trees, and explore caverns seemingly untouched by sentient life. Even on Verge, there are traces of chaos all around - reminders that entropy is a constantly looming reaper, using time as its greatest resource.

Verge is a strange land, carefully situated to support life. All the conditions were just right to make our arrival relatively simple. We live in harmony with the local flora and fauna - living off the land and tending to it as well. As I stare skyward from my observatory, I am still reminded of how fortunate we are. Verge is a rarity in a universe of volatile change, and tranquility more anomalous than fresh water.


By Nate/GSR:

Their city began as a dream.

They were starving things, struggling to survive past a day, foraging for whatever scraps of food they could find and forcing down dirt when there was none to be found.

The families huddled together in a shared home, desperate to preserve heat, each one of them unspeakably, inevitably aware that their lives could be snuffed out at any instant. 

When one crested the cliffside and saw the field of grain stretching out before him, he could not comprehend what he was seeing.  He stepped onto it hesitantly at first, poking and prodding, unable to grasp the truth of the land before him.  And then, almost experimentally, he brought a strand of wheat to his mouth, and he knew then that they were saved.

They followed him in a row, the ill or the weak left behind not out of cruelty but out of pragmatism; there was no mistaking that only those of them in good health would survive the trip.  Their march was grim and unrelenting, passing through pitch-black caves of stale air and across barren expanses where no living thing could survive.  At times they would cross some bit of plant that had been carried by the wind to this desolate place and fell upon it as one, but never did they stop.

At sundown they reached the top of the cliff along with their brother and knew what he knew: that they were saved.

They could not weep with joy, or embrace their family; there was far too much to be done.  Their lives were in their hands more than they ever had before.  Soon they had scattered to the four winds, looking for any material that could build them a new home.  Some died before returning; they did not care.  The dream lived on.

Night and day made no difference; they ate as they worked, taking strength from the very land that would become their home.  They carried out their work without the slightest complaint; they had been given a chance to survive, and they would take it.  Already their old village was a distant memory, and even thoughts of their abandoned brothers and sisters faded as mothers began to grow heavy with child once more.

At long last, they had a home.

Alice flipped on the light and shrugged the travel bag from her shoulders; Dave followed her with the suitcases, and Jen and Gail came bounding in after them.  “Mom, when’s dinner?” Gail called.

Alice groaned.  “Mom’s been driving all day, Gal-gal, and we’ve got a lot to unpack.  Dinner’s gonna be another hour, get yourself something to eat if you’re hungry.”

Gail nodded and dashed off to the kitchen.  Dave shot her a grin as they headed into the bedroom and started piling the suitcases onto the bed.  “Tired?” he asked.

Gail’s voice didn’t give her a chance to answer.  “Mom! There’re ants in the breadbox!

She sighed and gave her husband a look of eternal suffering.  “Who, me?”


By By Nick Silverpen:

Unsettled Regret

“So that’s it? You think we’re just going to shake hands... and part ways?”

“No,” `his partner said as they stood on the hill. One of them was going to join the caravan party on the march, while the other back to the village. The one back to the village was not happy to see his friend leave- to leave him here, to just abandon everything they had built? It didn’t seem right. “Obviously the debt has not been settled. But we will meet again, to finalize this. Not everything gets paid in full up front, brother. Sometimes you have to wait for the full circle to come along to get the payoff.”

And with that, the brother was gone. Skating his way out of that labor, that cost, yet again... and he had just let him. Always this one, always him having to wait for it, while his brother was able to escape, to be free. He wanted nothing but to be free, from the shackles he sometimes felt this village held. He had done it, once; he had stood on that very same hill, determined to run away, but the shackles kept him there. This brother only needed a break in order to find happiness; but the other, the one who joined the caravan, always felt the need to screw someone over, to disrupt the still waters... Why? Why, for mighty heaven’s sake, could he not ever see it through?

This brother stalked back to the village that held him back. This was a life he had built, and he could not see himself abandoning it all like that cheat had. He felt whole and complete here, but as he walked through the streets alone, without his brother, he felt that he was still owed something. He slumped on a porch of someone he didn’t know, looking out at the world, his world. They may have all been content, but he didn’t feel that way, not complacent with this world. He wanted more, but he wasn’t sure what “more” meant.

So restlessness plagued him, as his watched the children playing. Ache and envy and lust for his brother’s fate, as he slouched on the porch, the awning casting an oppressing shadow onto him; he would never make his peace here. As much as he loathed those who were content to live and die here, he was mixed with the confusion as he wondered what he truly wanted.


By Chro/Ben:

Settlers of Disaster:

The woman trudged up the snowy incline, a settler of disaster on her way home. The canvas satchel thudded against her back, though numb as she was with cold, it did not bother her.
An owl cried out amongst the snowflakes. She stopped and turned her back to the wind, glaring towards the chilled breeze. The owl called again. She turned in a circle slowly, searching for the source of the hooting sound.

No sign. She began to walk again. Up the incline, then down again, meandering purposefully through the snow. The colony was barely visible, obscured as it was by the white sheet that Nature had laid; merely a few small huts clinging to the white plain.

This colony was aptly named Disaster; monikers like Safety and Fortitude only seemed to encourage strife. This was the way things were, as they knew it.

They had come here many months ago, looking for fertile land after their last several plots had run dry and frozen. But Nature had forsaken them, as they now knew, for each land to which they ventured soon became crushed by drought, seared by fires of the forest, or cocooned in winter’s harshness. The people of Disaster were hardy farmers, tough, and they knew how to survive this pain, for a time. Sooner or later they knew that something had to change; Disaster would hold no more, and a new settlement would be needed. They would move on, they would adapt.

- - -

The woman trudged up the grassy incline, a settler of disaster moving on. The canvas satchel thudded against her back, though joyous as she was with hope, it did not bother her.
A bluebird cried out amongst the raindrops. She stopped and smiled.

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