World-Building Nugget #1

From time to time, I will share a nugget of “wisdom” on my world. Hope you enjoy!

What happens to trash and sewage?

In the technologically advanced nations, meaning those nations which still have access to bloodstone technology, trash and sewage are handled according to what it consists of.

Anything that can be composted, is transmitted between to the nearest automated composting facility.

Anything that is dangerous or toxic is transmitted between to an automated facility that pushes it through a rift into an alternate slice of the multiverse that doesn’t have a planet at the same location as the Earth. The rational for this is that if something is needed later, it can be retrieved.

Everything else is transmitted between to an automated recycling facility.

Disposal is handled by automated appliances, devices or disposal machines.

 

In the nations which have rejected technology as unnatural, trash and sewage are dumped in designated locations. Transportation is frequently by cart, and the custom of shoveling out these carts is the origin of the term “shit-shovelers” for backward or uneducated people in the technological nations. It is interesting to note that in the nations which have rejected technology, the high-born and the religious organizations do use technology which has been “blessed” at great price.

 

Of particular concern to the individual in technologically advanced societies is the disposal of excreta and urine. This is handled by the use of an appliance that is simply called the Personal Appliance, which see.

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The Beginning

**This is a fragment of another story.**

Namea groaned.

Araine started and leapt from her chair. “Namea.” She slid her fingers through her daughter’s damp hair. “Wake up darling.”

The child’s eyelids rose, but her eyes were covered by the inner-eyelid.

“Mama. He wants me to kill her.”

“There now, my love. It’s just a bad dream.”

One inner eyelid slid to the side. “He wants me to kill her and take him to be mine,” she slurred. “I can’t. I can’t. Boys are gross.”

Araine couldn’t help but smile as she put a cloth into the dish of cool water that sat beside the bed, wrung it out, and placed it on Namea’s forehead. “You don’t have to kill anyone. And you don’t have to have anything to do with a boy.”

Namea’s eyes shut. “I don’t want to. Boys smell bad.”

The door sisked open and Jeonar stood there. “More of the same?”

Araine nodded.

“I can’t help wondering who…” Jeonar entered the room, and sat beside her.

“I don’t want to know. Frotting trees and their plots.” Araine snapped her teeth.

“Arie.”

“I’ll speak my mind,” Araine replied. “Let her have her childhood at least. Cursed gifts.”

“Daddy,” murmured Namea.

“I’m here, ma vie.”

Namea’s eyes opened fully. “He wants me to kill Moira.”

“Moira? Moira who. We don’t know anyone by that name,” Jeonar sighed. “It’s just a dream. A bad dream.”

“She isn’t here yet.” Namea sat up. “I’m thirsty.”

Araine poured water into a cup and helped Namea drink. For a moment, she remembered Namea’s powerful presence even in the womb. She pushed it away. She refused to be afraid of her own child.

“Daddy. She’s coming soon. She’s very beautiful, with golden hair and golden eyes.”

Araine shivered. “That’s very specific.”

Namea finished the water. “He says she’ll be coming with that boy. I’m afraid, Daddy.” She pushed the cup into Araine’s hand and threw back the covers. “She’s so strong. How can I kill her?”

She crept into Jeonar’s arms.

But Araine knew.

***

Namea sat in the window of her bedroom looking out. Mum’s solution to the vision was to keep her locked up. But the Great Tree had shown her that Moira planned to use that boy to do bad things, and then kill him. Even a boy didn’t deserve to be treated that way. That’s what Egil said.

She straighted and stared across the loch at the Keep. A dragon was flying up from the Falls, and someone was on her back. Someone her size. Was that her? Was that the boy?

She pushed through the window and clung to the sill. She kicked out and shape-shifted into flight-dragon form. Glided down the side of the cliff-face, she angled to the right out of view of the village. Finally, she found an updraft, popped into it, and soon landed in the Grove. A Warden was waiting for her.

“This is for you.” He handed her a blade.

“Oh, it’s beautiful.” It was carved black dragonbone. With it was a sheath of dragonhide on a belt that fit perfectly around her waist. “Who is it?”

“The Matriarch Risa O’Niell. She died at the Battle of Rothgon.”

Namea kissed the hilt. “It’s too good to use on that bad woman,” she breathed.

The Warden caressed her cheek. “It’s just the right thing to use on that bad woman. Hurry now, my queen. The Great Tree Egil is waiting.”

Namea carefully wound the belt around her waist, positioned it just so, and put the knife in the sheath. She pulled it and put it back several times, until the movement was natural.

Namea. Come.

She started and then ran towards the clearing that was Egil’s. When she burst into that open space, the portal was already wide open.

Hurry. Lugad is waiting in O’Niell.

Namea darted through and emerged into another clearing.

A branch dropped a scrap of cloth to the ground before her. Namea shape-shifted into tracker form. In many respects, a wolf-like form, with the keen sense of smell. And yet, a dragon. In many respects, like a low-slung creature of the Dark Realm with the ability to slide through the smallest apertures. And yet, a dragon.

She inhaled the scent, devoured the scrap. That bad woman, Moira, would not be able to hide from her.

A Warden spoke. “They entered the Keep on 15-Level, and went to the lilac den there. They seem to be waiting.”

“How do I get there?”

“I will guide you. But I cannot enter. Only you can prevail against her.”

“Why only me?”

“Because you are a child, and she will not realize how dangerous you are until it’s too late.”

“I don’t like killing people.”

The warden hugged her. “Of course not. Nice people don’t like killing. But sometimes you have to in order to save other people. Remember the little boy.”

“Can I keep the Risa blade?”

“Yes.”

“He’s just a little boy.”

“Littler than you.”

Namea pouted. “Okay. I’ll save him. But I’m not going to like him. Boys are gross.”

She reached up and took the warden’s hand.

Fragment

Revised Aug 8

This is a fragment of a play that I wrote for a class I’m taking.

***

[The bedroom of ETHWIN, a large room occupied by a large bed. On the opposite side of the bed are a bedside table, and a door, an electronically controlled pocket door. The room is bare of ornament save for a kilted uniform hanging on the wall beside a shelf, and below, a pair of dress ghillies over which lay a sporran, knee socks and a pair of daggers. Beyond the end of the bed is another pocket door. The head of the bed is against the wall. In the bed, the figure of NIGEL can be made out hugging one of the pillows, and half-covered by the bedding. At the rear, the door slides open. ETHWIN, his older sister, comes in walking briskly, a mug in one hand and a half-eaten apple in the other. She stops abruptly just within the room and the door slides closed behind her.]

 

ETHWIN: (Takes a bite of the apple, puts it on the bedside table, jiggles NIGEL ‘s hip) What are you doing in here? You have a room of your own.

 

NIGEL : (Opens eyes) Your bed smells nicer.

 

ETHWIN: (Walks to uniform and inspects it while drinking from mug) Yeah, well, maybe if you ran the room fresher once in a while, your room would smell nice too.

 

NIGEL : (Buries his face in the pillow) I do run the fresher.

 

ETHWIN: (Puts mug on shelf. Takes uniform’s jacket off hanger and looks at symbol on the arm) Buzz, sweetie. I’ve got to get ready to go to work.

 

NIGEL : (Pulls bedding over his head) I won’t look.

 

ETHWIN: (Turns to audience, shows the symbol on the jacket. She’s a police officer. She speaks sotto voce) Nigel has been so clingy late. What is his problem?

 

NIGEL : (Muffled) Can I go to work with you?

 

ETHWIN: (Takes kilt off the hanger and holds it in her hand. Again, she addresses the audience sotto voce) Has she been at it again…

 

NIGEL : (Muffled) Ethwin, can I?

 

ETHWIN: (She walks over to the bed, and sits on the edge) Maybe. I’d have to get permission first. (Rumples hair) What’s up?

 

NIGEL : (Muffled) Nothing.

 

ETHWIN: (Pulls bedding down, and kisses NIGEL’s forehead) Huh! I don’t believe you. But that’s fine. If you don’t want to talk, I won’t put a dagger to your throat. I love you no matter what.

 

NIGEL : (Throws pillow and bedding off, and sits up) Even if I’m a pervert?

 

ETHWIN: A pervert? That sounds like Temple-born goat-shite. Who did you hear this word from?

 

NIGEL : (Stares off) Connie. She said that Dad hates me because I’m a pervert.

 

ETHWIN: (Rolls eyes) That shit-wit. Are we superstitious Templars to believe the maunderings of a drug-addled scribe who teaches hatred and exclusion in order control stupid people? You are not a pervert. You are perfectly normal, and normally perfect.

 

NIGEL : (Leaps out of bed, pulls ETHWIN to her feet, and hugs her) Is it perverted to get stiffies all the time?

 

ETHWIN: (Pushes him away gently) I would be worried about you if you didn’t. Your hormones are raging and your lingam doesn’t know if he’s coming or going.

 

NIGEL : (Slumps down on bed) So is it perverted if I want to spend time with someone who… makes me have stiffies?

 

ETHWIN: (Sotto voce) Does he mean…? (Normal voice) It depends. If it’s someone your own age that you like, not at all. But if you think someone is a pervert, it’s probably better to stay away from her… or him. Someone like that might take advantage of your hormones. On the other hand, maybe, if you thought you should… Go tell …. Mum. Yes, tell Mum. Mum would… fix things.

 

NIGEL : (Sadly) I think you’re right. If I know someone is a pervert, I should stay away…

 

ETHWIN: (Picks half-eaten apple off the bedside table and stares at it) Yes. Mum should fix things.

 

NIGEL : (Jumps up.) I’ve gotta go. (Sotto voce) I knew Ethwin would understand.

 

[NIGEL leaves room.]

 

ETHWIN: (Changes into uniform. Stands before the door, hefting the daggers in her hands, mimes stabbing) Mum won’t do anything… She didn’t before… (She puts the daggers in their sheaths at her knees decisively) It’s up to me…

 

[ETHWIN leaves room.]

Introduction

It is said that from time immemorial, stories began with the words “once upon a time.” Even true stories.

There are many true stories, and many stories that tell truths. Truths about our slice of the multiverse; truths that are so in every slice.

Once upon a time, there was an Earth, just like so many others, some with slightly different names, Eorth, Erth; some with radically different names, Terra, Mans-Haem, and so on. Our Earth was full of flat land, and cities built upon those flat lands on the edges of rivers that washed the soil into the seas. Once upon a time, there were billions of people, the Ancients, true-humans as the Herballists would say. And, once upon a time, that Earth was invaded.

The people of our Earth didn’t know that there had been an invasion until it was too late. For the invaders looked like everyone else. Human.

But the humans that invaded had no intellects of their own. They were the hosts for a hive mind, the Uthinin. The Uthinin replicated through spores. They were a fungal infection that thought when it reached critical mass. It was utterly alien. And yet, it originated on another Earth in another slice of the multiverse.

How were the Uthinin discovered? There, the historical record is conflicted. There are narratives that claim one thing or another thing. But it simply is no longer known which story is true. More than ten thousand years have passed. Knowledge has been lost. Some has found again.

Here’s what we do know for certain. There were three scientists, Edwin Sirpinski, Elnora Sirpinski and Cornelius Blood. Most sources say they were siblings. Cornelius was a quantum physicist, the first quantum mechanic worthy of the name. Edwin was a quantum engineer. They were the ones who defined the quantum sciences. But Elnora. Elnora was a geneticist. She is the mother of us all.

The Uthinin stole the technology for passing from one slice of the multiverse to the next. They looked for slices like their own. Slices with suitable hosts that had opposable thumbs. They infected all useful creatures and set out to exterminate those that were not useful. This was their solution to using up their own slice. Find another slice to use up.

They were intelligent but lacked intellect. Contradictory. They had the intelligence to make use of the technology they found in other slices. But they lacked the creative spark.

A fortunate thing.

The Uthinin had encountered a slice of the multiverse where the indigenous sentients had self-destructed in biological warfare. Those beings had created what we call the Blight. A strange pathogen that devoured all life. Their scientists had created an “antidote” but their military only deployed it to people they considered important. The blight devoured everything, not just people. Those people who survived the blight eventually starved to death.

The Uthinin brought the Blight with them to our Earth, to our slice of the multiverse. Ironically, the Blight saved our Earth from the Uthinin.

We did not have the “cure” created by the Blight’s creators. Rather it was through genetically engineered Dougall firs that the cure was found.

The Dougall fir was an economically important tree to the Ancients. It’s wood was used to manufacture products, if you can imagine such a thing. Trees grew plentifully and were regarded as disposable. Use it up. Another will grow. Except that more trees were not growing. The Dougall firs were afflicted with a mutant pathogen that combined a bacteria and a virus that killed the tree’s embryo in the seed.

A consortium of tree-cutting companies joined forces to find a “cure.” The project that enjoyed the greatest success introduced a new gene into the species that produced special bodies made of the then new material called buckystone, but which we know of today as bloodstone.

Elnora Sirpinski was the lead scientist on the project. She had created the first “Sirpinski” organ in a living organism using the new quantum scientific principles pioneered by her brothers.

For the curious, there are still living specimens of these original trees in the Spine of the World Mountain Range in the vicinity of the Corson Divide.

Nevertheless, the Blight didn’t just suddenly and magically take the Uthinin out of the picture. They were in a hurry to run away from the Blight. They didn’t understand what was killing them. Their solution was to open massive portals to bring in as many Uthinin hosts as possible to conquer our Earth. They had no concept of hazmat gear and suits. Intelligence but no intellect.

The portals were placed at the poles where there were no population centers. Over a period of many decades, the Uthinin forces entered into our slice of the multiverse. The waste heat generated by the portal melted the ice resulting in the rising of the seas.

It is a poor commentary on our fragmented species that the nations of the Earth failed to unite even in the face of these threats. Human nature hasn’t changed much since then.

The Sirpinski twins, Edwin and Elnora, and Cornelius Blood were Ganejans. The symbol of their nation was, fittingly, a tree leaf. While the leader of Ganeja sought to persuade other nations that cooperation was vital to the survival of the human race, she realized that her people could not sit around waiting for that to happen.

Ganeja was not the first nation to send manned flights to the moon, but they were the first to establish a base: Appleton Station. It was there that Elnora Sirpinski expanded her work to the creation of Sirpinski organs or glands for all life forms. Including humans. In time, over a thousand scientists from many nations had joined her team.

Elnora, relieved of the responsibility of designing Sirpinski glands herself, was free to devote her time to other projects. She became fascinated with the idea of designing an enhanced Sirpinski gland that would not just serve to protect the human body from disease organisms of every kind. No, she envisioned a semi-organic quantum computational device that would allow human intellect to flower fully. She envisioned humans that would live long enough to utilize the full capacity of their brains. She envisioned dragons.

When she introduced her ideas to the scientific community, she was surprised at the hostility that most scientists greeted them with. There were attempts made on her life whenever she visited earth. Many feared that what she proposed would result in people who were not human any longer.

To a certain extent, they were correct.

The means by which to provide humans with a basic Sirpinski gland that would protect against the Blight was made freely available. Most governments accepted the necessity of providing the glands to the populations of their countries; or, those deemed worthy.

During Elnora Sirpinski’s lifetime, the Blight had spread into most parts of Ganeja. The government was supplying Sirpinski glands to the populations at risk as quickly as possible but it was not fast enough to save everyone. Elnora Sirpinski had made the decision to manufacture only the enhanced glands for Ganejan citizens. She wanted the people of her country to have every advantage in the future.

Edwin and Cornelius were drawn into her plans. Edwin pre-programmed the glands with certain functions related to the manipulation of the quantum potential. And so the stage was set for meta-humans: dragons, trolls, sentient trees, jinn, vampyren, elves, the cetaceans, sea giants and others. Some of the meta-human variations were not as successful as the ones that have persisted to this day.

The Ganejan government and its allies, the nations of Sawidia, Goryea, and the Gadeleg nations (which came to be known as the Scamerian Alliance) began moving their citizens to the Moon. The first people to arrive were the engineers to build underground housing. It was there that many of the structural techniques still employed today were developed.

In this volume, we will expand upon the expeditions were made to recover the Nordheim vault of seeds, the Avalon vault of animal sperm and ovum, the search through the dead cities for sperm banks, libraries, the war on the moon to seize control of the biospheres as food grew scarce, the struggle to find a way to obliterate the blight from the earth; the last desperate attack of the Uthinin. Most harrowing of all was the decision to slag the Earth, to cleanse the surface of both the Blight and the Uthinin. To reseed the Earth. And at last, the founding of Skaga, the first people to re-populate the Earth.

To be sure, the Earth was not completely slagged. Just those areas that had were the centers of Uthinin activities. Still, the action had many unintended consequences for the Earth.

The scientific community imagined that the radiation would dissipate in a hundred years. The reality is that radiation  levels increased all over the planet and in the end it became necessary to redesign the Sirpinski glands to provide protection against it. Even so, genetic problems plague every modern nation. Even after 9 1/2 millenia, a strict breeding policy is in place in most modern nations to deal with the ongoing problem of dangerous mutations and non-viability.

Here, in Skaga, our policies are the tightest, our protocols the most protective. The sterility levels here are the lowest in the world: only 22.4%. The ratio of fertile females who survive to adulthood is also the highest in the world: 29.6%. There is zero tolerance towards those who deliberately breed with forbidden persons. A child who is conceived in violation of the breeding regulations and who cannot survive outside the womb is considered to have been murdered.

In Skaga, we are descended from those in the Ganejan Alliance who volunteered  for what many considered to be the most extreme enhancements. We became trolls. We became dragons. We were the first to return to Earth. We worked actively to heal the Earth. We built the great dams. We carved the great city-keeps out of the mountains tops. We created the Groves to seed life back out onto the Blighted landscape. We left the Sanctuary on the Moon and returned home first.

It was during those days that our people adopted as motto, and anthem, the following scrap of poetry adapted from a poet of a more primitive age:

 

“Though I walk through the gloomy vale,

Where death and all its terrors are,

My heart and hope shall never fail,

For the three[1] are with me there.

“Amid the darkness and the deeps,

They are my comfort, and my stay [2].”

 

– Excerpt, An Exceedingly Brief History of the Skagan Nation

Orrando Daphis Tharpe

[1]          Elnora Sirpinski; Cornelius Blood; Edwin Sirpinski.
[2]          Original penned by Issac Watts in A.D. 1845; amended by Unknown in Year 1098 in Sanctuary.

Once upon a time…

Once upon a time in another slice of the multiverse, dragons were created to protect humanity from an ancient evil. Ten thousand years in the past, that evil had very nearly prevailed, and the earth suffered terribly. But in this modern world, the Uthinnin have been forgotten, dismissed as legend, ancient fiction. Technologies that once rose have stagnated, and the cutting edge of scientific endeavor is to reverse engineer ancient tech.

Here is a world where ancient fantasies were made flesh: dragons are real, trolls are real, shapeshifting is real, monsters in the dark are real, sentient trees are real, and those old stories are history forgotten.

The ancient evil, the Uthinnin, is a quasi-intelligent fungus that had long ago invaded with their host sentients from yet another slice of the multiverse. Why fight gravity when you can just step next door to rob and pillage?

Welcome to the world that Ollamha Writes.