Oriana ran back to her father’s factory just around the corner from the street where Kent lived. She hurried up into an office, shut the door, and sat at her table in front of the window. The same window from which she had observed Kent walking by multiple times each day for months on end. This office was not actually hers. It belonged to Maggie, a part time accountant at her father’s factory. Since Maggie only used the office three days a week, Oriana had set up her own space inside it. Oriana had first started coming to the factory with her father when she was just seven years old. Although she had no interest in the manufacturing of paper, its processing, and packaging, nonetheless staying at the factory had always been a desirable place to escape to when she was a little girl. She had her desk for reading and writing, Maggie was grandmother aged and often doted on her, and she also liked walking around the industrial estate observing all the different things that went on in each factory.
Oriana took a loose leaf of paper and started jotting down a few notes about what had just happened. First, Kent did indeed live down Cutters Court. However, this cul-de-sac had some kind of building underneath it. Something big enough for a man like Kent to live in. Some questions started flowing out onto the page from her pen:
Why did Kent live underground? Maybe so he could be in hiding? Was he a fugitive? Could he be a terrorist or a criminal? Continue reading “The Monk – Part 2”
Elwin set down his pen. He looked over the ten or so pages he had just written about his time in the nursery. He took half a dozen slow deep breathes and rubbed his eyes. The room he was in looked different to him now. It was a small room. It wasn’t much more than a meter across and two metres deep. It had a single bookcase, a small writing desk, a small window, and a wooden chair slightly too low for Elwin to sit on comfortably. The bookcase had only about two dozen books on it, but the spare space was filled with various pieces of junk. The kinds of spare parts one might find in a mechanic’s workshop.
Elwin felt the thorn on his left cheek itch. It itched all the time. The itching of the thorns was like tinnitus: it never ceased but often one stopped noticing it was there. He continued reading over his account of living in the nursery when he reached the part about Agatha the thorn over his heart started to twitch and his hands started shivering slightly. He stopped and focused again on his breathing. Long slow deep breaths. It would pass soon, he told himself. Continue reading “Thorns – Part 3”
Oriana perched on the seat of the bus shelter like a cat ready to pounce. Soon enough the object of her interest appeared almost precisely on schedule: A tall skinny man with red hair over burdened with a hiking backpack that was obviously well loaded with goods, and carrying a case of a dozen tins of beans. The man’s clothing was simple, it was also well worn, and his hair looked tangled. It was a rather warm day and the man was clearly suffering from the heat of the day, but still he pushed on with determination. He came to the road he always turned down at this time of day. This was the point Oriana had chosen to intervene. She skipped across the road and brought herself up alongside the man dragging the heavy load.
“Hi!” she chirped
The man looked up at her and blinked before allowing a friendly smile to grace his lips. He returned her greeting politely, but pushed on without asking her any questions. Oriana, who wasn’t used to not being paid attention to, was not sure what she should do next. She found herself just walking uncomfortable next to him. They had walked about a hundred metres in silence before she decided that she hadn’t made this bold move to learn nothing. Continue reading “The Monk – Part 1”
There are few other memories of note that I have of the nursery. Certainly few that are particularly distinct. But in the days leading up to my seventh birthday there was one memory that stayed with me indelibly. I recall feeling terrified and sad for my leaving the state nursery soon. One of the nursemaids noticed and she asked me what was wrong. I told her than I didn’t want to leave, that I was afraid of being thorned. This nursemaid was called Agatha and she had been thorned in her right cheek. The thorn was not a small spot or blemish on the skin. Where the thorn was inserted into the flesh a large black welt appeared. From this black protrusion of the flesh emanated a network of black veins so that Agatha’s entire right cheek was covered in black lines. If I had only had the experience of the other children who were free from such blemishes, I would have thought the sight of a thorn to be disturbing, however, as all the adults had at least one thorn somewhere on their head and so I was accustomed to the sight of them.
Agatha looked anxious for a moment, looking over her shoulder before smiling kindly at me. “This place has become your home hasn’t it?”
“What’s a home?” I asked innocently.
“It’s an old word, long ago people used to live in just one place to grow up in. It was a really small place, nowhere near as big as this nursery. But children would stay with their parents.”
“What are parents?” Continue reading “Thorns – Part 2”
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When the calamity struck Proxima Minor the Ferren guild feared their livelihoods would be the most affected. The Ferren were the miners and refiners of gases, metals, and liquids extracted from the crust of the planet. Their guild motto was, “Everything we have either comes from a plant or a hole in the ground; and we know how to dig.” When the waters approached their mines they moved their homes, refineries, and machinery under ground. Then they sealed themselves in deep underneath the surface. The water from the new ocean above them seeped in, but they pumped that out and built oxygen factories to supply themselves with breatheable air. Safe underground they had access to all the metals, minerals, other chemicals the Comptoni needed to build their machines and with that trade they were able to buy food from the Vegani.
Despite all this, life for the Ferren was not easy. Before the calamity they could do aerial surveys for potential places to build their mines, but now they had no choice but to simply dig and keep digging until they found something worth selling as a refined ore. Places already rich in underground caverns and shafts were the most desirable as they made the process of looking for new ores to extract slightly easier. One such place was underneath the Oblique Plateau where the first waters from the spatial deluge first landed. Perhaps many centuries earlier the plateau had been an ocean, but like Mars the waters had been blown away off the planet into space and lost forever. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Ten”
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Space was at a premium in the Comptoni underwater settlement of Deliverance. Whereas on Earth a submarine pen would be a large spacious structure for a submarine to emerge into, free of the risk of bumping into other vessels, in Deliverance submarines had a very different function. Underneath Comptoni settlements were a series of large one-way tunnels for submarines to travel through as though they were underground trains. They emerged in tiny rooms that looked remarkably like subway stations. Indeed, passenger submarines that ferried Comptonians from one settlement to another ran frequent routes. The submarine carrying our heroes emerged in one such station pen.
Relieved to get out of the cramped conditions of the submarine the group soon observed that Comptoni settlements were not much spacious. The under water city was full of people sitting and sleeping in the corridors. The overcrowding was deplorable and the faces of the people they passed were long pale and sullen.
“Why is this place so over crowded?” asked Kimberley, “the last time I was here it wasn’t like this.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Nine”
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Submarines on Earth are almost exclusively for research if they are small, while if they are large they are almost exclusively for warfare. On Proxima Minor the situation is quite different. When the Ferrens and the Comptoni decided they were not going to leave the surface of the planet, but rather dig in to resist the flooding coming their way, for the first time commercial sized freight submarines had a market. Thus the submarine our four adventurers are currently travelling on is not like any submarine found on Earth. It has a small crew quarters, a humble sized engine, and a massive cargo bay. Like all submarines though it is incredibly cramped for the crew. The room our four adventurers were staying in was tiny but incredibly had four bunk beds crammed into it. There was much curiosity about the latest person to join the adventure. Fiona was an Aeron who had heroically prevented an attempt on Kimberley’s life by one of her guildsmen. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Eight”
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Back in the sky city of Pearl, the Aeron chief guild master Kaylim was interrogating the Kiron guild master Sybil.
“What do you know of Kimberley’s plan?”
Sybil sighed heavily, “I know as much about that as you do: she intends to seal the rift.”
“What about those two freemen who helped her to escape?”
“I know nothing about them.”
“I have a witness who says that you cleared them both for entry into the parliament, and also brought them into the parliament chamber,” Kaylim raised his voice, “Why did you let them in if you didn’t know anything about them?”
“Because I hoped they would protect Kimberley when the time came, and they did.”
“You fool! I’m going to have to kill them now, as well as Kimberley. You have three deaths on your conscience now.”
“My conscience? You don’t need to kill any of them. That is your choice and your responsibility.” Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Seven”
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When the Kirons opened the spatial rift they chose to open it six kilometres above the surface of Proxima Minor. They were fearful of it being too close to any place inhabited, but also they wanted to flood a specific area with water for the test. The Oblique Plateau was a vast shallow depression on the surface of Proxima Minor with no settlements on it as yet, and thus it was perfect for creating a new sea using the water from Proxima Major. That was the plan at least. When the spatial rift generator was activated a perfect circle with a diameter of several hundred metres across appeared in the sky and immediately the largest waterfall in history started to gush forth from seemingly nowhere. The water fell six kilometres in a straight, almost clear, tube downwards and pummelled the Proximian ground with seismic force.
Since the spatial rift was a tear in the fabric of space, it had no substance. Looking at it sideways it was so perfectly flat that it simply could not be seen. It was not like looking at a piece of paper from the side at eye level, one can still see the paper no matter how thin: One could not see the spatial rift looking at it side one, it was perfectly two dimensional. There was merely a solid pillar of water pouring down below, and above a clear yellow Proximian sky. The other side of the rift was a perfectly reflective surface, like a mirror. However, while a mirror reflects visible light, this surface reflected all wavelengths of light, and with perfect efficiency. With an ordinary mirror one can fire a laser at it and melt a hole through it. With the upper surface of the spatial rift one could fire a laser at it and the laser would bounce off without any loss of heat in the process. In fact, one could drop a bouncing ball and, if it were not for the atmosphere, the ball would never stop bouncing on the surface of the rift as there was no matter there for the energy of the ball to transfer to each time it bounced. Continue reading “Space Fall – Part Five”
If you’re worried about missing out on part 5 of Spacefall, you may relax, I am working on it, and will probably put it up tomorrow. I’m just taking a bit of a break today because the last two parts were 2,000 words each and part 5 is looking like it will be in the 3,000 word range.
Space fall is based on an idea I had one day while reading up about exo planets that astronomers have found in recent years. I was particularly surprised to learn that water is a relatively abundant substance in the universe that is typically present during the formation of a new star system, but unless a planet has a strong electromagnetic field, like the Earth does, the water eventually gets blown off the surface of the planet and into space. Water is so abundant that some exo planets have oceans on them possibly hundreds of kilometres deep. Yet many planets are like Mars or the moon lack a strong electromagnetic field to prevent the water that used to be there from being stripped away by the sun’s radiation. Continue reading “Writer’s Diary: Space Fall”