Magusination – Chapter 1: Fallen Down

Synopsis:

Humanity has left Earth due to uncontrollable environmental and population instability. In an attempt to save humanity, the world nations established the first international ceasefire to develop mass immigration technology capable of sustaining life for multiple generations of transit. Nations banded together in the first Coalition for space development, working with an almost unbelievable force of unity. Upon passing the first warp-point, the Coalition finds itself already in front of the target planet of immigration and breaks apart.

Lieutenant Kaisu Welkin now finds himself struggling to have the unstable remnants of the Coalition forces settle in a new world. He will soon find out that this new world operates on different systems than his… Systems of magic.

 

—–

“Just stop! … Fuckers, just stop!”

Alarms sounded throughout the monitoring bays, lights screamed attention to hundreds of deviations, and a frantic scramble of technicians yelled in to their respective headsets. The Lieutenant slammed furiously at his dashboard as he argued to the emotionless figure on his display coldly addressed him.

“Lieutenant Welkin, we appreciate your efforts. Unfortunately, the situation requires us to descend immediately.”

“You descend now… You fucking descend now, and it will be the end of The United Coalition! You render the concept of nations and organizations meaningless if you do this! We agreed-”

“We agreed, Lieutenant, to remain as a coalition until we reached a habitable planetary system… It seems that this happened far earlier than anyone imagined, and the Sfaizurs have decided to take the lead. The other nations will be following suit,  and we can not let the Representational Governments of Immunia fall behind.”

“I’m telling you! You do this and there will be no Immunia or Sfaizur! This is just the Second Period of Nationalism all over again…. Dammit, that’s not including the readings of sentient civilization we’re getting. It’s not going to stop there, it’s going to be genocide… It’s going to be a purge!”

“We’re sorry Lieutenant, the United Coalition only had jurisdiction up to this scenario. We shall discuss this further upon settlement.”

“Wai-”

The Immunian officer disconnected before Kaisu Welkin could post an additional argument, leaving with a black screen that reflected Kaisu’s pained face staring back at him. He angerly cleared his monitoring desk with a vehement sideways stroke, and grabbed his hair as if to retain the remains of his sanity as it slipped away.

“Oh god… Oh God… What have we done…. Why. Why?!

Alarms continued to echo off the metal walls and floors, but the panicked chatter had fallen to a murmur. Kaisu looked up to his team of technicians and liason officers, and their eyes drilled in to him with a pleading hopelessness. One by one, they were left disconnected from the chaos that was happening outside Aeternus to stare at their respective black screen. A black screen that left the prompt [DISCONNECTED] in the center in bold LED red, a fitting allegory to the mess the entire former’s Earth population now found themselves in.

“…Turn the alarms off. Bring up the bow and keel sensors.” Kaisu sighed as he rubbed the bridge of his nose.

A loud click sounded to signal the end of the alarms, and the strobing amber lights returned to a steady incandescent white. The main central screen displayed a colored visual which stunned Kaisu and his team with awe and a stomach-churning fear. In the void of space, a blue and green gem floated innocently in front of them unaware of the anarchy that was to descend upon it’s inhabitants. Hundreds of thousands of now-former coalition ships approached the planet, dotting the spacescape like starving ants towards honey. In that swarm, thousands of explosions of red would pulse intermittently and then be replaced with a haze of white from the escaped atmosphere and ship debris. Kaisu could hear himself gulp in horror, realizing this silent light-show would yield millions of lost human lives by the end of the hour. Husbands, wives, children, and hopeful Earth refugees who left on this final immigration for a new frontier would never see the dreams they were preached to about for the last decade.

“What’s the SolQ status?” Kaisu managed to vocalize in order to force his mind working. To whom he did not care, just anything to distract himself from one of humanity’s worst mistake.

“Q1 and Q4 are clear, sir.” A young female voice sounded to his right. Kaisu forced his eyes away from the screen and turned his head steadily over, trying with all his might to represent the senior officer that he was, and probably failing horribly. He mused to himself that he wasn’t the only one, as it was clear that the addressing Ensign was lightly shaking with bewilderment. “Q2 and Q3 are… currently engaged in action. It appears that Immunia and Sfaizur forces are in battle between themselves and among themselves. Factions have separated from their origins and are either trying to flee the quadrants or move ahead onto the target planet.”

“What is this mass that’s moving away from the target planet?” The Lieutenant gestured toward the hologlobe of the solar system.

“Notably, the PangZu Republic forces are headed towards one of the two moons of the target planet and have stayed clear away from the fighting. Other unaffiliated forces have decided to assimilate themselves with that PZR, most of them which could not afford to embark on Operation Ascendance with military ships.”

“Designate the moon that the PZR is headed to as Mike-1, and the other one as Mike-2. Do we still have control of our Coalition escorts?”

“Yes sir.”

Kaisu sighed deeply, overcome with a fatigue that exponentially out-weighted the excited anticipation he had just hours before. With the Coalition ships, they at least had science community and pro-cooperation faction safe from the death dash in front of them. Almost all of the international science community had enrolled in to Coalition departments to work on Operation Ascendance, a plan of cooperation to save Humanity from environmental catastrophe and overpopulation. Well, that plan now seemed more of a dream at the moment.

“Sir?”

“Yes?”

“We’re also picking up signals and emissions from the target planet that, well… don’t follow any physical properties that we’ve ever seen before.”

“We’ll have to look in to that later, though it doesn’t make me anymore at peace with the current situation.” The Lieutenant looked down on his console and entered in the keys on to the public communications channel. The Coalition bridge Lieutenants appeared on the main display screen, and the Aeternus PA system clicked to signal a public broadcast.

“Ladies and Gentlemen. This is the Coalition Organization Lieutenant Kaisu Welkin of the Aeternus. I am calling Fallen Down. I say again, this is not a drill.” Kaisu held back his tears which suddenly welled up. “Operation Ascendance is Fallen Down”

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The Fisher of Men

[Welcome to E.Online]

E.Online, the first VR/AR MMO application developed for mankind professional and recreational use. The ‘E’ had stood for ‘Establishment’, but the community had unofficially nicknamed the application ‘Eon’ during beta testing. The developers thought it was a witty play on words, and kept the convention.

[Please log-in, or create an account.]

{Create an Account}

[Please input your personal information, or select one from the following:]

{Account Creation
Name: Johannes Vance
Age: 30
Gender: Male
Citizen: Kanadian
Employment: Programmer
Alias: JayVee
Class: …}

Now what should I have my alias class as? As a programmer, all my co-workers had selected Mage to get bonuses at the library and when buying computer parts online. I can always ask a friend to help me there, so maybe I should try something else?
Looking at the class list, they really added a bunch of new classes… eh? His one is new, but…

[Fisher: Resource Gathering]

At first glance, you would think that this class is only useful to those in the fishing or seamanship industries. But, in actuality [Farmer] would be a better choice as it comes with industry connections to the livestock, foods management, restaurant contacts… As an application alias, it also has more benefits for in-game actions if you wanted to play

Fisher is also really generic, it doesn’t list any specialized buffs and the in-game statistics are spread pretty wide. [Perception] is pretty high though… I guess you need it for paying attention to the fish?

Well, I’ve always decided to play the limits of every system I touch so, let’s go with this.

[Fisher selected. Thank you for joining E.Online. Please feel free to connect your social media and government accounts in SETUP to integrate your information with our services and systems.]

I spent the next few minutes finishing up the integration process, as well as logging in to Eon World to assign skill allocation to my new alias. I kept everything pretty generic, but in truth there isn’t much choice in the matter. You start out with barely any skills, and only 10 points to move around. It’s also known from the beta that if you don’t put at least 1 point in all skills things get really (REALLY) troublesome later on.
For now, I had 2 extra points, so I put them in Mana and Perception.

[Skill Setup
Mana: 2
Vitality: 1
Defense: 1
Strength: 1
Perception: 2
Agility: 1
Intelligence: 1
Endurance: 1]

Alright, let’s do this!

Waving Flag

The national flag waved with fervour in the pale rain, brandishing its bright red against the grey sky. Justin watched in a hypnotic trance as he crouched from within a burned out home within the residential district. The wind would whistle with a grim tone whenever it travelled through the city halls, and the rain flew in every direction without discrimination. In the distance, fighting could still be heard in pockets of resistance. Justin found his thoughts wandering as an unconscious escape from his bleeding arms, pain pulsing from his fingertips to his elbows with every heartbeat.

Drip, drip, drip…

Tick, tock, tick, tock…

He sighed with a defeated breath, and then chuckled lightly when this moment flashed through his mind as if he already experienced in a dream.

Or in this case, perhaps nightmare was more appropriate.

Readjusting his gaze upwards to the flag, he noted the white and blue backdrop with the glistening white insignia resembling a stylized ‘M’.

“…The bottom teeth of the Dragoness’ bite, her top canines beyond the heavens…” Justin trailed off in the county’s anthem. With a renewed strength, he took out a blue gauge that had an end with a needle. He always hated needles.

The bit was injected in to his right thigh, and he grimaced with the pointed pain. As he relaxed, Justin looked at the indicator.

[-300/500 MP]

“Whooo, that’s definitely not good.”

As if to make things worse, he heard an approaching growl.

A Trip Back (Home)

Along the gravel road the convoy rolled on with the groan of wheels on rock. Resembling a mechanized snake, it carried its passengers onwards through the mountain pass. The passengers were silent, their final hopes placed on the snake’s faithful slithering. The Guides kept a careful surveillance on the flanking emerald trees, watching for any irregular movements that were foreign to the mountain environment.

The trucks had been moving non-stop at a steady pace for the past 4 days, and fuel was running on low for both the evacuees and their transportation. The snake had begun to atrophy, and The Guides would guide their community to abandon transport and non-essential provisions.

It would all be burned to prevent lingering attachments.

Burn just like their homes.

Burn with that unforgiving roar, red eyes that looked mockingly at their pitiful human lives. It licked the sky with an insatiable appetite. As the refugees moved slowly past the fire, each would shelter their reddened eyes downwards. The screams and cacophony was still clear after 4 days of evacuation, and with that crisp sound of destruction accompanied the images of red sky, red blood, red rivers, and red fire. And the red and yellow eyes of the monsters unofficially named as Knives.

In the oncoming lane, the remnant military and national authorities moved past the evacuees with desperate fervour. The Guides nodded to each other as they passed one another.

“Where are the Shepherds headed off to sir?” A young Guide asked his superior whist relaxing his assault rifle grip to fix his magus glove.

“Last I heard, we’re preparing a front line at Saltese; but that was yesterday. Commander Yin hasn’t had any messenger contact since and as expected our communication hardware is still down.” His senior replied, eyeing carefully at the youth’s hands.

“I’m not relaxing sir… not when those creeps are around. I just haven’t been able to readjust my equipment since our morning surprise.” He quickly fastened his gloves and checked his mana reserves. Low, as expected.

“I guess now’s a better time as any son.”

And onwards the snake would roll.

Roll towards an uncertain future, but a future nonetheless. That is, if they could break their predators.

So onwards they moved, protected by their Guides.

Father of the Protagonist

Writing Prompt Day 4: Tell a life story from a secondary point of view.

He was born not with a bang, not with a whimper, but with silence.

I knew immediately seeing his eyes that my son was different, and not in the sense of a doting parent, but in the image that my son was a different being altogether. Physically, he was like any other baby. Rotund with healthy baby fat, black hair resembling his beautiful mother, but with eyes that stared at you in silent strength.

The father is the most unprepared in the room when new life is born, but I never to be overcome with fear. A primal feeling within me welled up, screaming to end this monster’s life. But I loved him, gut feeling or not.

In reflection, it was actually my basest instincts being threatened of superiority.

I fully expected to be a man that my son would aspire to be, to be an example, to be a model and guidance for his life. To laugh with a cool ease during the great times, and to share a deep empathy when he were to lose. I could already tell that I would not be the great man in his eyes, he realized I was human.

He realized I was filled with sin, with shortcoming, with feelings of shame. I would not be the hero of his life, I couldn’t even try. My being took 3 decades to stand in his current shoes, would he scoff at me? Would he look at me with scorn, to be the son of such a foolish father? Questions bounced off the inner walls of my skull, reverberating a nervousness that slowly increased in frequency. I held the life passed in my hands with a fragile care, looking in to my son’s questioning eyes.

My wife looked at me with a fatigued glaze, lovingly she asked:

“You were more excited than I was, why are you so quiet honey?”

I couldn’t tell her the war that was going on in my mind, she wouldn’t understand the male instinct in my heart that dripped with immature anxiousness. I couldn’t tell her I wasn’t ready for… for this. For the man that I carried in my arms. As if she understood, she silenced her smile and looked deeply in to my eyes. After all, the woman I married knew me better than I knew myself. She joined my son at the seat in opposition to me that was the court of my mind. She sat up slightly, and then…

Smiled.

“You don’t have to be superman hon, you just have to be our man.”

On cue, my son cried lightly and I cried tremendously.

I don’t have to be his hero, I just need to be his friend.

 

Literally Uninsurable

Writing Prompt: Day 3

“Sorry, we can’t insure for a journey like that.”

I stood bewildered in front of the merchant guild clerk as he looked up from his spectacles, a slow cold feeling gathering from my toes to my head.

“…What do you mean you can’t insure my goods?” I asked in astonished curiosity.

“I meant, sir, that we can’t insure your proposed trade from-”

“I’ve been doing this for several years, and as required by the merchant guild I am required to buy insurance for the transportation of goods above 2000 Ralacs.” I cut off the clerk, repeating the standard that had been set ever since the beginning of my trading career. I honestly preferred not to buy insurance every time I set out, it was rarely required as banditry and natural disasters could be avoided if you weren’t being foolish. The cost of the insurance fee cut in to profits, but it was a requirement for all merchants looking to deliver high-value goods, otherwise the build would bar your travels and revoke your membership.

“Sir, the guild cannot provide you coverage to Ulberich at the current moment.”

“So I can’t leave the city.”

“Sir, you can leave the city, but not with your goods.”

“But the goods have been bought.”

“… I can understand your frustrations sir, but that is how the situation is.”

I furrowed my brow and rubbed my eyes in thought, digging in to my mind for a reason, and more importantly, a counter-reason for the cause of an Ulberich trade freeze. The provinces of Ulberich had long been a strong purchaser of information and research resources, boasting in development in all fields of study. Libraries and universities were always purchasing books, tomes, and relics at high value in goals of consolidating knowledge and technology. So another convoy of books was hardly a high-risk coverage for the guild.

At least until recently.

“Does this have anything to do with the rumors that the Ulberich provinces is undergoing cultural reform?” I though aloud, my fingers still stroking my frustrated eyelids.

“…That is hardly a rumor now I guess.” The clerk anxiously replied.

“So, why has the guild decided to shelve my passage for the transportation of my books?”

“As you know sir, cultural reform is hardly what is happening in Ulberich. Militant forces have begun an insurrection in the eastern provinces and have begun purging-”

“Books… the lords be damned.”

“Exactly… In fact, they have been actively seeking merchants along the common routes toward Ulberich and burning any literary wares found.”

I cursed in my mind, realizing the mistake I had made in my recent purchase of a carriage full of magical tomes. I gotten word that there had been a sudden increase in profits to be made in Ulberich regarding books, but to think that it was because it was scarcity that was driving the price and not demand.

“Sir, perhaps you could trade your goods for something of equal value?” The clerk suggested, his concern easily displayed. I couldn’t blame him, with my recent purchase most merchants would have lost everything if they weren’t careful.

“And by that?”

“Perhaps military wares, sir?”

“That would be the safe choice with the increasing conflict in Ulberich, but…” I paused in thought.

“But?”

“In all likelihood, if the guild is aware of this news, then the price of military goods has increased drastically since this morning… and I’ve never been comfortable transporting weapons to fuel conflict.”

The clerk nodded understandably, and joined me in crossed arms and contemplation. We mirrored each other in thought before making eye contact. I chuckled lightly and he responded with a concerned smile.

“Well, I’ve got a few ideas.”

“Do share…”

“I would, but it’s more of a risk if anything, and I wouldn’t be comfortable giving you false hope in my success.”

“Nothing illegal I hope, sir.”

“Nothing of the sort… I’ll see you around, John was it?”

“Yes sir, it was a pleasure. May the lords bless your endeavors.”

“And yours as well.” I replied respectfully before walking off. John placed his right hand over his heart and bowed as per bureaucratic etiquette. I noted his shoulders relaxed as if telling himself that he was glad he had the secure occupation of a guild clerk, and I mused in my mind that I was glad I had the opportunity of a travelling merchant. I pushed open the heavy wooden doors to the overcast sky and bustling city streets, and inhaled deeply to brush off the recent bad news.

“Well,  little Jasmine won’t wait any longer. Let’s figure this out.”

 

From Under the Stomach

Writing Prompt: Day 2

Write about a character which as lost something important.

At some point in the lives of most, some things begin to become “daily knowns” in our regular lives. Some call it taking it for granted, while others consider them luck. But routine will gnaw away your vigilance, and the knowns become “truths” and the truths become “life.” Day by day, I lived life thinking that most people thought what I thought. Felt what I felt. Saw what I saw. Everyone was more or less just as blessed as I was.

So when “it” happens, how do you feel?

Should you have a pre-arranged reaction ready?

Perhaps, to know that you never had to feel the wrenching pain of loss prior to this moment, is a blessing in itself.

In a moment that unfolded like a surreal scene, all my principles and paradigms shifted with a violent force. I was thrust upon new barren land where everything looked the same, but meant something significantly different. White became red, strength became death, and life became something no longer viewed… but finally lived in. Ironically, as all these realizations surged in to my gaze, the symbol that stood for these values lay still on the rocky floor.

“Fah… Father?” I weakly cried in denial.

I recalled just moments before, an aged face that had nurtured my immature heart smiled it’s last smile. It looked away in resolution, a face of honour and strength. He brandished his blades and took the house stance of “Chikyu no Ha” which had been perfected by generations of diligence and servitude to the nation of Salishan. Our house had not been blessed with the God’s infusion for magic, but we had adapted to our role and took pride in it. As the nation’s counterweight, we stood to prevent the magic fervent factions from acting without checks and balances. Far too many neighboring states had spun out of control, nobility purging the masses, or the masses violently vindicating themselves of nobility.

The robed bandits were an occasional occurrence, not rare, but not frequent. In most cases we always knew that they had been paid off my the magic hardline factions, but evidence could never be collected to prove a solid case. Regardless of the enemy, our style of fighting demanded the utmost focus and attention towards our enemies and self. As a disciple of a magic-less martial art, we could never be too careful in practice and preparation.

His parrying arm extended forward in focus to the banditry in front of us, his other arm readying a sudden strike blade at his side. A pose which symbolized strength used for defense that maintained a flexibility to return or dodge any close or ranged magically infused attacks. As the wind blew pass us and picked up the falling snow, my father burst forward to strike first. Half a dozen men fell to his hypnotic trance, and their necks burst like blooming roses. Father stepped gracefully to the side to avoid any splatter, and continued to dispatch each threat one at a time like a gardener tending to his land.

As I watched on, I readied by blades to move in at a moment’s notice.

But it was a moment too late.

The bandits summoned forth a disc of light, none that I had ever seen before, and launched it forward. Father tried to step aside and deflect the magic projectile, but his blades sank in to the light as if being consumed. His torso twisted in the air, beyond what was naturally possible for a human, and I could catch the lifeless glimmer in his eyes as the body fell parted from his legs.

I couldn’t even vocalize the loss that overcame me, realizing the futility of trying to turn back time.

A coldness froze over me as fast as the bandits began to grin, and the fear and hate summoned began to fill the void in my heart as fast as it formed. The man I loved would no longer stand by my side. And then the sickening hurt began to dissipate.

No longer was it our era.

No longer would the weak be able to keep the strong in check.

Our death would be as meaningless as our fight against the overwhelmingly unfair power of the magic wielders if they had managed to develop a counter to our techniques; that is, if we continued to remain powerless.No matter what we did, most of us would die unless we succumbed to our final technique, and even then only few would live to gain unlimited strength. But at what cost? Father had warned me heavily on the usage of the final solution.

But it was no longer our era.

And we were too weak to keep the strong in check.

So if we are to end with a whimper, and let injustice run rampant on our world, then let me also fight to my last breath. Let me rage against the political machine.

And with that final thought, I purged my blades just under my stomach. The bandits looked in awe, smiling as if I gave up.

As if I gave up, but I smiled back.