Thursday, 10 November 2011

Storytime Again!

So here I am, it's 1:30 am, I have work in another six and a half hours and another half an hour until my copy of skyrim has finished downloading. I could sleep, but you and I both know that's not what's going to happen. Thankfully, I think I can function at work on muscle memory alone, but in the meantime I have half an hour to kill and what better way to squander it than with a bit of creative writing?

Flying Colours

He was tired. So very tired but in some ways that helped. The harsh training lesson was muted and he found his body and mind settling into a subconcious rhythm that his lessons had entrained into him. His mind reached out without effort. He felt the ship, it's sanguine hull bristling with psionic energy nestling in the safe coccoon that was it's powerful plasma shields. A solitary home and fortress in the void of space.

It was deliberate, he was to have no distractions until graduation. Hence why the ship's crew was skeletal in number, but he felt them nevertheless; the Khalai Protoss, the ship's technicians, their minds pulsating like a heartbeat.

Their feelings were transparent; unlike the two others who were in the simulation room. They were... enigmas, their minds did not seem impenetrable at first but his training had been very effective. Their minds were... layered. The outside was transparent, but they had a hidden wall separating the rest of their psyche.

Before he could dwell on it though, his thoughts were again interrupted by those ancient sapphire eyes gazing at him. He knew the Judicator could read his mind... and not just read it. He never used to feel uncomfortable about that fact, so why should it bother him now?

He spoke so as to banish his discomfort, "Judicator, you never told me you had such strategic prowess. Those last few simulated campaigns were... exceptionally challenging."

"Executor Aeolus, it was never my intention to push you to such limits. Truth be told, I find it... unethical," mirrored the Judicator, emphasizing his distaste at the word "unethical".

The Judicator continued but with a tone of pride, "A particular member of the Conclave took an interest in your training. I was reluctant, but Judicator Hephaest was insistent. He set up the last 2 campaigns for you and assumed the role of your opposing general."

On cue, the staunch Judicator Hephaest stood up to speak.

"When the Conclave selected you to be raised as an Executor of the Fleet they knew you were the best candidate to prioritize the survival of the military and civilian assets when completing objectives. However they felt there was a slight danger of you... "overdoing" it."

Hephaest continued, "After testing you myself, however, I am inclined to believe that their concerns are invalid." 

Hephaest then completely dropped the rest of his formalities with a lighthearted smile.

"Aeolus, you will be one of the best Executors we have ever been blessed with."

The Judicators let that last statement sink in for a moment before Hephaest let the other Judicator speak.

"We can see you are weary. Get some rest, young Templar and tomorrow we shall return to Auir for your formal graduation and immediate assignment."

The Judicators left him alone.

Aeolus lay on his bed. He was still tired but something niggled in the back of his head. The Judicators of the Conclave were always religious and political heroes. They were infallible, holy, they knew what was right and wrong and selflessly devoted themselves to making sure that everyone was on the Right path. Under the guidance of the Conclave, the people were one with one another; one gigantic happy empathically linked being.

Tonight though, he had discovered they had a hidden layer. He never knew that, never felt it there before, but then again never before in his life had he felt the ship. The Judicators had always preached the divinity of sharing your mind and all it's secrets with your brothers and sisters of the Khala, but the truth is they weren't actually practicing what they preached. And worse, they hid that little hypocrisy as a secret in itself.

This was a result of the training... he knew it. And Aeolus knew that those two Judicators already knew his little revelation...

Monday, 7 November 2011

Story Time!

I've been wanting to do this post or a week now, but work and procrastination has continually obstructed any attempt. That's ok, I'm doing it now so that makes it all better, I hope. Unfortunately this short story is going to be of the dreadfully common sci fi genre. I'm pretty sure every teenager went through that phase where they wrote a 214 000 word scifi/fantasy novelette. Fortunately for me, the floppy I used to store the story on became corrupted as did my dream of ever becoming a writer (well apart from the fact that my father seemed to think that "writer" and "homosexual" shared the same definition in the dictionary).

On the plus side though, I have learnt a thing or two since high school even though I haven't written anything but laboratory reports and technically inclined essays since. And that little nifty tool is to write about emotional responses instead of just a linear course of actions by two dimensional characters. And so without any further adieu, allow me to introduce you to the gman's first online short story...

Final Results

death, retreat, kill them all, gushing..blood, severed...heads, Victory

..and then a commanding voice as if shouted across galaxies: THAT WILL DO

He opened his eyes slowly. It was as if sandbags were weighing them down. His dream was still real in his head and playing across his mind haphazardly like a film reel with coffee stains blurring out every second frame. 8 hours... He couldn't remember all of it, nobody in their right sane mind could. But he definitely remembered the recurring themes throughout.

The deaths... billions of living beings slaughtered by his order. You can't empathise with that, and you cannot mourn for millions... sooner or later they all become a statistic and the only death you can empathise with is the death of your own compassion.

The retreats...Sometimes you had no choice but to flee. Strategically it sometimes made the best sense, but try convincing your comrades that. Every retreat he partook he had to fight the rising tsunami of hopelessness and humiliation that became pandemic across the ranks. It was infectious and the general had no immunity to the plague.

 "Kill them all," a phrase uttered so callously by himself so many times. When it wasn't him but the enemy doing the retreating he would scheme to turn the retreat into a rout. Masochism would turn to sadism as he avenged his own emotions and projected them on others. Viciously his heart aligned with his mind, for it always made good sense to hunt down the enemy when they are out of position and often times out of hope. Always, his men an extension of himself, echoed his insatiable bloodlust.

And the gushing blood... he was no stranger to the battlefield. Sometimes it wasn't even red; without oxygen blood is blue and when there is no red blood cells left flowing in your blood then it doesn't even take a color. You still know what it is, though, the lifeforce leaking out of the body.

Severed heads kept cropping up time and time again. Why tribal and warrior cultures seemed to take pride in putting heads on sticks, he did not know. But it enraged him and helped turn those millions of casualties on both sides into something... justifiable.

And finally the words victory and defeat were engraved inside his skull. Nobody ever had uttered those words. It was either his advisors informing him the "opposition had been killed with no survivors" or "we have captured the enemy general" or something along those lines. And every now and then, he slipped up and would pay for his strategical and tactical errors and would find a blade at his throat or a projectile weapon aimed at his heart and in a flash he was somewhere else commanding his men again in a new battle.

He had forgotten how many times he had died. In some ways he woke up being numb to the concept. He was afraid of death now though. Once upon a time he wasn't. He was a young zealot like the men he commanded in his dreams, it was sweet and fitting to die for your people. But now... it just scared him... just. scared. him.

He shut it out of his mind, with the rest of his dream and anchored himself back in reality; his eyes trying to convince him of what his mind could not. His surroundings were sterile, metallic and emotionally neutral. It didn't help, but then his eyes suddenly met those of his tormentor. The man responsible for the lucid dreams.

He lost himself in those ancient sapphire eyes and felt waves of admiration and pride gush over him in torrents. He was lost at sea.


The commanding compliment felt like a punch to the head. It didn't hurt though, it just put his emotions into a coma while his brain caught up.

"Your training is complete, Executor"