Act One

          When I was younger there was an airbike model that caused a lot of trouble. Well it wasn’t the bikes fault really. It was an Airjet 25R, R cuz it was the racing inspired model, though unlike most racing inspired models these days, it could run circles around professional rides. The Airjet 25R didn’t resemble any of the older boring “teardrop” looking models that were designed by committee. The 25 R looked like it was designed to cut into the air, not slip through it. The 25 R was a cross between an early 21st century fighter jet and motorcycle. It looked like a fire breathing demon that you jumped on the back of, grabbed by the scruff of the neck and hoped you knew what you were getting yourself into. An airbike is an anti-gravity vehicle. A natural progression over the years from the 19’th century steam driven motorcycles.

          The advent of the anti-grav engine is what catapulted the human race into the stars. When it was first developed, earth’s population had ballooned to near 10 billion. Needless to say it was getting crowded, people left the planet in droves with no promise of finding habitable exo-planets. Most people now are still living on the space ships their parents and grand parents emigrated on, it was only a matter of time before they started modifying those ships into current day stations. Some are so large now they can’t make planet-dock.

          My home has been the space station named Epsilon 001 for most of my life. It’s also home to one of the biggest Airbike Racing courses in all the 4 quadrants. The track wraps around the station like that giant octopus from “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”. With it’s tubular track design and no discernible up or down it’s the fastest, most intense track built so far. These tracks allow the bikes to be driven in a multi-dimensional sense, upside down and above have become normal terms in racing.

          My name is Kelvin and for a time I left Epsilon 001 to live with my aunt, uncle and parents but after a while I found myself back there again buying a living module and having it installed on the station. It’s great, when I’m not hunting I can take my custom airbike to the track. Say… let me tell you about the first time I rode an airbike and how that and the Young Beasts changed my life. What’s a Young Beast you ask? Well the easy answer for now would be a genetic anomaly that awakens mostly in teenagers, though some people who were normal teens gain attributes, even if for a short time. The gene probably activated when we started to settle among the stars, no one’s sure yet.

          The best of anti-gravity racing, the Airjet 25R was outlawed in 2115, as well as any other airbike that followed it’s design philosophy. Back then a gang of Young Beasts got a hold of the first shipment to our station and had a joyride all over every inch of it. They terrorized us for a week with those awesome machines before they were caught. Epsilon 001 was the first purpose built station, designed mainly to replace the Epsilon ship that the original colonists came out here in. Epsilon 001 was the first station built to be a city in space… meaning it had lots of open space inside to run about in. Two of those teenage psychos ran a bike into the CO2 scrubber module section and the bikes power-plant detonated, we had to leave the station for weeks. All 500 thousand plus of us were stuck on some nearby freezer unit of a moon, Antarctica II, I got into a bit of trouble there but that’s another story. Of course the Young Beasts were fine… freaks of nature. It took 5 days to find the last one after the module blew… 5 days in space, commonly known as the vacuum. Some of the Young Beasts can exist perfectly fine out there though. The worst this kid got was frost bite on his right foot and hypothermia.

          If you were to listen to one of the many vocal scientists on the matter, they’re the next step in human evolution, the Young Beasts that is, I call fecal on that. Why do most Young Beasts lose their abilities when they become adults? Isn’t evolution supposed to make permanent changes? I was a normal kid. Well ok, maybe a little smarter with reflexes that were faster than expected but pretty much normal. It seemed though, that being smart didn’t stop me from trying to get my hands on one of those Airjet 25R’s. I’ll admit, back then I thought the Young Beasts were cool… childish stupidity. Since then I’ve realized the threat they can pose and I hunt them down for a living. We can kill them, they aren’t immortal… but that isn’t the goal of hunting them. We’re paid to capture the dangerous ones and invite the level headed kids to the high school, that’s the job. The high school I work for was one of the first to start the Young Beast Prison Project, a project that, without the Airjet 25R incident, would have probably never started.

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Evermore

An old tale I scribbled up a few years ago.

 

Once before there was Evermore the sky had shown; red, yellow, blue, and green. One hundred fifty years past the nebula vanished from the sky in an instant, replaced by 2 stars 3 years aft. This is known as the binary quadrant after all.

However the surprise was in the colours which the new stars shown. A true set of cosmic fraternal twins. One a bright blue, the other a deep red. Vrotald thought of the excitement that may exist in that new system. Many many millenia would however pass before life would manifest, if life was even in the cards for the twins. They named the stars Omega and Alpha, which seemed fitting enough. Never would they forget the brilliant display that lead to the era of Nevermore. Magic would come to this advanced system of science and it would be Vrotald who would aid with ushering in this new era of Alchemic discovery. Once a land of science and logic Evermore was now becoming mysterious and curious forever more.

The Walking Tour

I’ve been here for a day but I can’t find anything that I want to do.

“New York is a big place Jason. You’ll have no problem finding something to keep yourself occupied with for 2 days while the rest of the family gets to the hotel.”

My aunt must be delirious. Once you get past all the flashy lights and the sidewalk vendors trying to sell you useless “I apple NY” shirts, there’s not much here besides spending money to do something. She has the money, I don’t. My hotel room has a pretty cool view of the city though. Gran-pappy died, my aunts grandfather that is, and left her a massive inheritance. Of course her first inclination was to go to New York and shack up at the Madarin Hotel. It seems I’m the only person in this family who doesn’t get plane sick or is deathly afraid of flying, I love flying actually. So I guess it’s because of family traits that I purchased my flight ticket the same day my aunt said she was going to buy the train tickets for her and the others. I just got a call from her saying that something happened to the tracks. The train had to stop in some random town in middle America until a bus could bring them the rest of the way. So now it’s just me in my awesome hotel room looking down at everyone else scurrying about, living their lives, I kind of feel bad really. It’s not that I don’t appreciate being here but she should be investing that money, at this rate she’ll be living in the outhouse back home. I also feel bad because I don’t feel like I’ve done anything to deserve this massive good amount of fortune.

I’ve been sitting in this room for the better part of 4 hours now and I’ve done nothing but listen to music from some classical station online and order food from room service. The city is really beautiful now that I think if it. They played one of my favourite songs just now though. Symphony number 7 the second movement, an Allegretto by Beethoven. My aunt called about an hour ago and said she’d beat me if I didn’t find the family something to do when they arrived. I asked her what I should look for, and her response was as expected.

“We’re tourists, find us a tour to go on silly!”

She wasn’t wrong. Back home I saw her break out all the cameras and lens’s she had collected over the years of her photography job. She was going to get real artsy with her pics and spam her instagram and tumblr with them. Her fans “demanded it” she told me. By fans I’m assuming she meant everyone in the family who were following her on those sites.

Now that I think about it, that classical station, WQXR I think is their name, said something about walking tours in Grand Central Station. My aunt’s words about us being tourists reverberated in my head like an echo in an abandoned mineshaft. Why not buy some tickets for when they get here, and since I’m bored I’ll get myself acquainted with it to help the others along. It’s not like there’s much else for me to do now anyways, I just hope I don’t get lost or lose this “Metro card” thing.

I had made it to Grand Central Station without incident so that was a plus. I walked in and this place was massive. I’m glad I had the idea to check it out first because with the patience my cousin Hellen has, we’d never be able to figure out where to go for what in this place without some time invested in wandering around. There were some long lines down on the main floor so I assumed that was where I had to go. The ceiling was so high is kind of made me nervous looking up at it, to avoid an anxiety attack I kept my view down and just at the massive crowd of people I’d soon be apart of… this would go well. I hoped to get to one of those ticket booths in one piece.

“Hi what can I help you with?”

The teller looked old as dirt but he had on a smile as wide as our Milky-Way.

“Yeah um, I wanna get um, well, I mean… is this where I can get the tickets for that umm, Grand Central tour thing?”

“Aww kid you didn’t have to come here to do that! You could’ve done it at home, or in your case more likely your hotel room.”

He looked at me sympathetically, almost as though he knew I was uneasy being around so many people without my family nearby. I was about to walk away feeling stupid for not checking online but I guess I really did want to walk around the Big Apple and take it in. Before I turned around though, the old man put his hand up, asking me to give him a moment. He bent down and I heard him rustling through some things and he popped up, that smile of his almost cheshire in appearance now.

“Well since you cam down here and you seem like a good kid, would you like to try out this guided tour? It’s something like you kids would call a beta test for a game. Every so often we hand these out to folks who want to see somethings that most tours don’t usually show tourists. No worries, since it’s in beta we won’t charge you just uh, make sure you bring it back to me when your done eh? HAHAHA!”

He was strange, not at all the kind of person I’d been told who works at these customer service kiosks. The audio gear was small, just a simple MP3 player and a pair of earbuds with the rubber tips in a plastic bag, probably for health concerns.

“Sure I’ll try it out, is there some kind of questionnaire that I have to fill out or something?”

“Eh don’t worry about that kid, when you come back I’ll have all that for you to fill out. As a matter of fact, I’ll hook you up. I’ll waive the fee for the tour I’m guessing you and your family want to go on, but we’ll take care of that when you get back too.”

The old man slipped the mp3 player and earbuds through the money slot at the bottom of the window. He yelled “next” and pressed a button turning on a light above his terminal. I smiled and walked away to an area that wasn’t so congested with people and set up my audio tour.

“Hello! And welcome to the Beta Test of the possible new Grand Central Terminal guided tour. Please press pause and go to the sign with the number 7 in a purple circle, I will now give you 5 seconds to pause the recording. 5, 4, 3, …”

I hit pause and looked around. The vagueness of the directions made this feel like some real life point and click adventure. I wasn’t sure how useful it would be for some other people though, my cousin Hellen specifically.

I had made it to the sign and saw the number seven. There were other numbers and letters next to it, all in coloured circles too with the word subway next to them. There were little shops in this part of the terminal, one of them had pastries. I’d have to remember where this was when I finished this tour thing. I made sure I was out of the way and facing the sign with the number 7 on it, then pressed play.

“2, 1…. This is the subway access tunnel. The number 7 stands for a train line that runs from right here in the city all the way to one of the other Boroughs, Queens specifically. Please continue down this way, a man will come out of a door and that will be the next stop on the tour. I will now give you five seconds to pause th recording, 5, 4…”

I hit pause again, slightly confused by the specific instruction. There wasn’t much in the way of information on this tour so far. But it was interesting. It seemed like a game sort of, or a guided treasure hunt, I could get into it. I walked down the hallway just as the recording said, a man walked out of a door. I waved to him as he passed and he said hi back. I had to admit, this level of detail and interaction was pretty cool. The door ahead was slowly closing, but I didn’t have to run to catch it, I got to the doorway, walked in and it clicked shut behind me as I pressed play.

“Man this place looks like it’s still under construction.”

“Please excuse the current state of side room 1 as the different areas of this tour are still under construction.”

I had to admit, whoever did the recording, the guy had a good idea of what to expect in terms of what people would say. It actually was a little creepy.

“Here behind the scenes is where we’ll show you the infrastructure of the terminal. The terminal is under constant upgrade and repair in order to meet the needs of the more than 750,000 people a day and 1,000,000 pe…”

“Damn 1 million people a day that’s..”

“A massive number in terms of logistics.”

“Ok that was creepy.”

The voice stopped talking for a few seconds and I stood there waiting for the next few seconds waiting for the next set of instructions.

“Oh right! Sorry I forgot I was recording… Um please continue along this pathway and make sure to take in the artwork by some of the best graffiti as well as fine artists we could commission. There will be a metal stairway that will lead you to the engine room. Another guide staff member will open the door you will walk through. I will now give you 5 seconds to pause…”

I paused and walked along the pathway. The paintings were really nice I guess. I was never one for graffiti or fine art but these looked pretty cool. I walked along and couldn’t help the feeling like I wasn’t supposed to be here. The old guy said the tour was in beta but I would’ve thought they would have done more work to the path way before letting people back here. I was almost at the stairway when I heard something fall up ahead. I guess it’s true with tours as it is with games, Beta is Beta, or in other words, things will definitely be incomplete or broken. I got to the stairway and one of the lights were flickering, I felt my anxiety climbing into my throat and at that moment I could have sworn there was someone breathing down my neck.

“They really need to fix these lights…”

I said nervously as I turned around and back again, checking my 6. I could’ve turned around but the old man said he would help me out with setting up the tour for my family so I figured it was best to continue on. Plus I was curious about how the engine room was going to look.

I got to the bottom of the stairs and saw the guide person standing at the door wearing a polo shirt with the word “staff” on it. She had on a beaming smile.

“How’s the interactive tour so far? Pretty neat huh?”

“Yeah it’s pretty cool I guess but you guys have a lot of work don’t you?”

She laughed.

“Yeah like that light at the top of the stairs, there’s something amiss with the wiring, one of the electricians said there’s a short and something about electromagnetic radiation that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end.”

“So that’s what that was, felt like I was being watched.”

She laughed again, her matter of fact nature helped me calm down.

“Yeah, he said that can also make people think they’re seeing ghosts or feel some super natural presence is around them. Enjoy the rest!”

“Thanks and I will.”

She walked off, kind of hurriedly, up the stairs and I entered the engine room. That’s when it happened , I finally had an attack, when I saw how big the room was with all the pipes and massive boiler looking like things along with the other large machinery, along with the ceiling I couldn’t see because of how dark it was, it felt like the entire room was closing in on me. Ever since I was young I hated being around large things. Large art installations, those power substations, they all scared me. Even looking up at the sky could reduce me to a shivering child, day or night. Then I saw a large arc of electricity shoot off from something like 20 feet above me. It shot off from some massive connection terminal and looked like it was pulled into a glass tube further ahead. I couldn’t really see what was happening, but I was sure that this was a substation. I only knew because oddly enough I’m an electricians apprentice at one such a facility. My aunt said the only way to overcome your fears was to face them, and that’s what working at the substation back home was supposed to be for me. But this room went against all logic all this should be outside and far away from such a high volume of people! Just before I blacked out I got that feeling again, like someone was right behind me, close enough to bite my neck.

“Hey! HEY KID!”

When I finally came to, the entire room was lit up and I heard someone calling to me… from the MP3 player…

“Who’s there!”

“It’s me the voice that’s been guiding you this far, I’m also, (clears throat) the old man.”

“What is this place, your mad scientist kill room or something? How is this underneath New York City! Why is there a substation down here!”

“Oh so you know what this is! Excellent that will save us some time!”

“No not excellent! I can’t be here it’s too big!”

“That’s a strange form of claustropho…”

“I’m not claustrophobic! It’s like megalophobia and casadastrophobia put together. Now let me out of here!”

“I can’t do that Dave.”

“This isn’t the TIME FOR SPACE ODYSSEY REFERENCES!”

“Yeah, sorry kid, I couldn’t resist. But it’s still the truth, I can’t unlock that door until the next shift change. Upper Management won’t permit it, but you’ll be safe they won’t black bag you for seeing this room. Actually the don’t even know you’re here, we kinda slipped you in under the radar.”

“But I haven’t seen the room! I only saw that one arc shoot into the glass tube!”

“Right, you can’t look up… What’re you doing right now?”

“I’m about to piss myself scared while crawled up into a ball on the floor in front of the door!”

“Aren’t you interested in why I said we slipped you in?”

“Not at all…”

“Well either you can talk with me and try to mitigate this casadamegaphobia of yours or I can just stop talking to you and leave you all alone in the secret under ground power-plant.”

I didn’t answer him immediately, I was too busy trying to find my happy place. But what he said broke me out of my fear a little. My mind started wandering to questions of the glass tube and the fact that this substation was underground and yet it hummed beautifully, even with the odd arc shooting off every now and then… Actually they were shooting off at specific intervals… but why would that be apart of a substation design.

“Why indeed? I see you’ve got that brain of your workin! That’s a good thing! Guys we really lucked out by luring an electrician down there.”

“How’d you know what I was thinking!”

“You were thinking out loud kid… by the way how old are you?”
“I’m 20”

“Well mister 20 you are the first Ignorant to be inside The Power-plant. Congratulations!”

At this point I heard cheering in the background, not fake cheering from some soundboard, but genuine cheering as if the entire staff were applauding my current situation, which had a strange calming affect on me. My body relaxed and I listened to their happy voices and applause. You would’ve thought I just cured cancer or something, there as actual crying coming from some people. I sat up and my left earbud fell out. I accidentally looked at the facility and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t scared of a massive structure in front of me that wasn’t a building. I looked down the makeshift corridor that had massive switchgears on either side as well . They had to have been at least 15 feet high, with various other, what can only be described as highly modified flyback transformers on top, with arcs of electricity jumping back and fort between them as if they were… playing. I hadn’t noticed before but I must’ve descended more than a few stories down that staircase earlier. My hair standing on end must’ve made me blank out some of the descent.

I looked further down this “hallway” and saw where the soft humming was coming from. There was an impossibly huge rotating flywheel… drum thing, and the glass tube I saw earlier was aimed directly at it. The arcs of electricity started jumping back and forth faster and faster, keeping in rhythm with the rest of the sounds this facility was producing. Then the arcs raced down the transformer tops and launched down the large glass tube which must’ve bee at least 50 feet away from me, and slammed into the flywheel drum. The question finally left my mouth, my brain coming to terms with what I had to ask.

“How long ago was it started?”

“This facility has been running under it’s own power singing away like this for the better part of 60 odd years.”

“Who’s work is it based on?”

“Micheal Faraday purported the idea for the transmission arcs, but when Tesla died and his work confiscated, this facility was commissioned 4 years later based on his and Faraday’s designs… As well as others. Philo Farnsworth helped in the final redesign. He and a few others were told it was just an exercise in design but he like the others had a feeling that they were designing something to be added to an already existing system.”

“So… so is this the generator room instead of a substation?”

“No it is indeed the substation. The generator actually is in high contrast to this room, where this room is akin to the size of a large cathedral, the actual generator could fit in a large delivery van.”

“Who designed that?”

“Tesla… sort of…”

At this point I finally managed to stand, my legs were slightly wobbly but I managed to make them carry me towards the flywheel drum. It looked like a similar design to what NASA is using out on the space station for power collection/storage. It was spinning almost silently, you couldn’t her any mechanical evidence of bearings or physical linkages. It looked like it was floating in the middle of the facility. Plasma would arc onto it from the assorted glass tubes around it and then arc off onto metal balls in position position by the top of it, the arcing didn’t sound harsh and violent like lightning, it wooshed and crackled lightly, it sounded more like small static discharges snapping in rhythm.

“Where’s it going, the electricity. How much is this? Mega… Gigawatts?”

“A few levels higher than that actually, more in the Yottawatt range, 3 a year to be precise.”

Inside, my mind was dropped in a bath of chaos. 3Yottawatts a YEAR! That’s far more than the entire world uses! I didn’t want to believe it but considering I was currently in this impossible facility underground, I decided things would go by faster if I just accepted everything at face value. Then my mind quickly jumped back to what he said just before and I didn’t know how to think again. How could the generator be smaller than this massive place?! It went against all logic and knowledge I have about electrical systems.

“Where is the generator… room?”

“Well where are you standing right now kid? Security cameras aren’t allowed in there, but I’ve got the place mapped out in my head.”

“Well… I walked forward from the door and I’m now standing in front of the big spinning thing.”

“Right, the flywheel… from there, standing straight in front of it, turn 90 degrees right and you should be able to walk down “E Path”. From there there’s going to be a circular bulk-head-like door and you should be able to lift the latch on the left of it and and walk in, after that walk down the little flight of stairs and you should be able to see the generator…. How’s the tour?”

“Not funny.”

“Sorry…”

I had to give it to the guy, he knew about such a big secret and was still acting like it was nothing. At this point though I still didn’t know what to think, my mind was a complete blank. You could’ve asked me my name at that moment and I probably would have said I don’t know. I walked down E Path with nothing but the rhythmic humming of the substation separating me from total silence. It looked just like the other Path I walked down after the door. This bulk head didn’t seem like it was meant to keep anything out or in, but it seemed to serve some kind of purpose, what exactly I couldn’t tell. It was a large circle and I couldn’t see where the hinges were. The entire face was smooth and there were no hand-holds on it save for the latch that just seemed to be resting on it. I lifted it up and I heard a quiet beep, the door slid straight up without so much as a smooth metal on metal sound.

“Static magnetic field, change the magnetic circuit and you change the nature of the field, in this case causing the door to open.”

I nodded my head but said nothing as I stepped through and made my way down the stairs. When I got to the bottom I saw what just then became the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. The temperature of the room seemed to drop and there was a fog hovering close to the ground. The walls were devoid of anything but strange metallic plates that stretched out in all directions. Each leading to, or rather, coming from a large glass sphere in the center of the room. It was hovering there perfectly still and motionless with something sitting on the inside of it on the bottom. There were two cylinders counter rotating, each inside of a bundle of strangely wound coils that were wrapped in a cage of what I assumed was iron that seemed ornate and intricately designed. I wasn’t and still am not sure how any mechanical process could have made the cage. It was wrapped around and through the assembly in a way that looked like it was grown instead of forged. What I assumed were the copper coils never extended outside of the outer most part of the cage, even though there were “roots” or “branches” that snaked around and through nearly every thing else save for the rotating cylinders.

“What is it?”

“We don’t know.”

“Where did it come from?”
“We don’t know”

“How long does it run for.”

“As far as we know… perpetually.”

“What is it powering?”

“We aren’t allowed to know.”

“Why are you showing me this.”

“We physically cannot tell anyone, Whoever found the cage first figured out how to make people swear an unbreakable promise. A perfect swearing of secrecy. No one can tell anyone who hasn’t seen it anything about it…. no one who’s made the promise that is.”

I heard the smile in the mans voice and before I could ask him something the battery on the communicator died. I stood there and laughed for what must’ve been a few minutes. Here I was staring perpetual motion in the face and the electronic device I was using to talk about it ran out of power. He said I had a few hours until the door could be opened. I looked at my phone which luckily still had power and saw that it was almost 6 o’clock. I took pictures of the generator as well as video and wrote down notes about what part I thought connected electrically or magnetically to another. Every piece was important but I felt that the cage was the most important. Then I sat there, looking at and listening to this thing hum it’s rhythmic tone for the next few hours.

When the girl came and got me she lead me back to the main atrium of the terminal. I looked up at the ceiling and felt no form of anxiousness or fear, just wonderment. I walked back to my hotel room and the guy who played the old man was waiting at my door.

“What am I supposed to do?”

“What do you think you should do?”

“Tell someone.”

“Aren’t you afraid something might happen to you?”

“To be honest something already has…”

He patted me on the shoulder, walked down the hall, pushed open the door to the exit stairs and that was the last I saw of him. When my family arrived 2 days later they did nothing but enjoy the spa here and have big dinners. We all piled into one room and watched movies with the shade open at night so the lights of the city could pour in. I didn’t tell them while we were still in the city. I figured one of two things would happen. Either the Grand Central Staff had actually kept my visit a secret from “Upper Management” or they missed something. When the day came 3 weeks later that our vacation in New York was over and I hadn’t been visited by the men in black, I knew I was scott-free. I now had in my possession the most dangerous information that had ever existed, what did I plan to do with it now?

The Transfer

     It’s been a while that the two companies have had their underground passage way closed off. There was some disagreement that took place long ago and for the safety of the city, they were told to close their passage way and were only allowed to make business transactions inside a highly fortified walkway 60 stories up that connected the two buildings. The last transaction that took place in the passage way leveled four city blocks in south side Eagle City. A school building in the middle of the day was one of the buildings destroyed. But as politics go, the companies were allowed to continue to operate after designing and rebuilding the sector they had destroyed. With their entire companies on the line they worked together… barely. Another reason they were allowed to remain open is that they are medical facilities and not only that but the best in the world, some would say the best in this sector of the galaxy.

Last night on the Evening Report the world found out that the Kellen-side of the factory wanted to send test samples and prototypes on biotech that could revolutionize the cyber prosthesis field. The government sent in two bounty hunters with knowledge in the field to aid in the transaction. These guys had some pretty in depth knowledge about biotech and nano machines since they were the only ones to make it out of the Nano-Wars with their original bodies intact. They had learned how to deal with all sorts of outbreaks and fast spreading viruses. Well they almost made it out out completely intact. The older one, Watler P. Tumblewright, had to kill himself in order to stop the virus from devouring his skin. Somehow he killed himself for 8 minutes an had set up some resuscitation machine to only go into action when the nano virus left his ship. He’s a bit of a legend really. The other Hunter I’m not so sure about. He and Tumblewright have been at odds almost as long as Kellen and Ellen Enterprises. It seemed the companies couldn’t hire anyone who didn’t feel the same type of animosity they did. The other Hunter was named Georgi Rantcleft. The man operated on multiple people during the Nano-Wars in order to keep the various viruses from spreading. Rumours still circulate that he did more than operate on the people he saved but none of the 200 cases have ever proven to hold any weight in court.

The buildings look like a mix between old gothic styled cathedrals and modern micro-structuring techniques. That is to say the buildings were “grown” from the sub-basements up. The process is similar to 3D printing but much more involved. Both were an off white colour with their logos displayed proudly at their tops. Ugly walls were built on the sides that the buildings facing each other so that neither side could see any form of activity on the other. However for legal reason the massive 3 story walkway between them was kept intact, but I think it was more financial reasons than legal. But both sides of the walkways have massive 3 story bulkheads that both sides had to agree to open in order for anyone from one side to travel over to the next. Another route of precaution an automated travel system was installed halfway underneath the walkway. It was city government controlled so that we all knew when exactly a transfer was going down. The walkways were big enough to fit construction mechs in since most transfers between companies meant, more often than not, that some really heavy cargo was being moved.

An hour ago an area 1 mile around Kellen and Ellen enterprises was evacuated, it seemed the time to do business was upon us.

 

“Now Walter we don’t want you or Michelle getting hurt, both you guys are great friends to Ellen-side and if something smells fishy we want you to abort.”

“No worries girlie, if we gotta abort you can bet yer ass we’re gonna fly back into that transport tunnel as fast as you can say hot tamales! Plus with this modified mech I should be able to shut that yungin up. If Georgi’s involved I can bet you, Kellen-side ain’t thinking nice thoughts.”

 

The mechs are about 15 feet high, bi-pedal, construction models. Two large three pronged hands that look like a trident, and a cage with open cockpits surrounded by an intricate rollcage. Walter’s model has two more load arms for heavier lifting. There was an invisi-screen in front of the pilots so that meant entry and exit was underneath the mech via a little elevator with the pilots seat on it.

 

“Walter since it’s Kellen-side that initiated the transfer we’re giving you a cargo scanner it’s right here, the ovular looking “gun-shaped” thing. It can also help in steadying the container if necessary. The boxy one won’t help you unless you want to support something heavy.”

“Alright then. Ya know, I think I should take that there support one too. They got Georgi on their side and his ego’s a bit…”

 

A government official overseeing the Ellen-side transfer didn’t find the incoming joke funny in the least.

 

“No, you take whats been authorized with exception to your “add-ons”. Given with what you’ve told us about Georgi’s and your past.”

“Lighten up pup, ya might live a lil longer! Haha! You ready spectacles?”

 

The lab-tech piloting the normal construction mech nodded as he turned on his heads-up-display. The government official walked over to the massive bulkhead and input the unlock code for the hour. Another safety precaution enforced for the sister companies, lock and unlock code, two separate ones, were changed every hour give or take a few minutes to add in a random element so neither side could intercept the others easily.

The massive doors hissed, then slid open without making a sound.

 

“That there’s a little creepy, reminds me of an abandoned Star-Class shipping boat I searched once.”

 

No one seemed interested in his story. When the doors opened up wide enough, they could see the Kellen-side doors opening too. Back in the day it was possible t just walk across the massive passage way but now kinetic barriers were put in place to prevent anything from people to Anti-Matter warheads from getting through. Walter and the lab-tech climbed into the service passage and locked their mechs into the rail system. When Walter was sure he was out of ear shot of the people above him he clicked on his AI bot.

 

“Sheila, tap into the system of this here builders mech and get full access, we might need it girlie.”

“It’s already done big daddy, jus gimme da signal and we’re blowing holes in everythang in site!”

“Easy girl we gotta be reaction-ree, we’re meetin up with an old friend.”

“You talkin bout that George a-hole?”

“The very same.”

“Shoot, I hope he startles the heard into a stampede, I been itchin to get him back for what he done to your leg big daddy.

It seemed he programmed his AI to talk in an accent much like his… The carts started to move forward silently. When the lab tech saw the faint green light of Walter’s AI on his face in the darkness of the passageway he sounded his concern.

 

“Walter! I don’t think that’s a good idea!”

“Boy don’t you sass him! Big daddy Tumblewright’s got it all under control!”

 

Walter’s AI answered the tech as Walter only nodded his head in assurance, his happy old man visage was now completely gone and replaced by something that made the lab tech uneasy yet safe at the same time. He had pulled his dreadlocks back into a pony-tail and pulled his goggles down to his eyes from his forehead, Walter P. Tumblewright was ready for anything to happen.

They came to a stop and climbed out of the rail system. When the lab tech saw who the other side sent over he jumped for joy inside and whispered to Walter.

 

“Walter, we don’t have to worry about their tech, that’s my wife.”

“That makes things easier fer me.”

Georgi pulled the other mech out of the rail way and sparks flew out from the mechs load arm.

“It’s been acting like that all week honey, don’t worry!”

“She’s a cute-un boy, how’d you trick her into marryin ya?”

 

The la tech laughed and waited slightly more assured as Georgi and his wife made their way to the midway point. The Kinetic barrier dropped and and the lab tech walked towards her husband.

 

“Sheeit look who it is! The old timer! Looks like you have some non-standard equipment there you wouldn’t be thinking of trying something would you?”

“I wouldn’t dream of putting these two in danger, I just know you can’t be trusted.”

 

Walter said motioning to Georgi’s actual battle ready personal Hunter Mech.

 

“What this? Think of it as my security blanket.”

“What’s takin so long kids? You’re not making a child back there are ye?”

“No Walter, her mechs load arm is jammed it won’t let go of the container.”

“Well how about you two tell Ellen-side about the faulty hardware.”

 

For the next 8 minutes Walter and Georgi stood there motionless, staring directly into each other eyes as the lab techs waited for confirmation from the government that the techs were actually married and could be trusted to not be bringing over some type of bomb. Had they not been married the process would’ve taken the next 3 hours.

 

“Ok Walter they said my wife and I could go over and work on dislodging the crate.”

“Why can’t yall jus swap mechs?”

“They have different protocols, hers won’t listen to my keycard.”

“Of course… All right get on it, seeing as them rail systems only carry two mechs I’ll wait here till yur sunshine returns.”

 

The lab techs climbed in the carts and they left silently as Walter and Georgi never broke eye contact.

 

“How’s the leg.”

“You just shut the hell up about Big Daddy Tumblewright’s leg!”

“Well if it isn’t Sheila the ancient piece of shit software.”

“Calm down Sheila, we didn com’er ta fight.”

The bright red light went back to being dim green.

“New leg’s fine boy, works just as good as the old one.”

“Guess that means not that well then, HAHAHAHAAHA”

 

Walter said nothing and the two of them just stood there still not moving a milimetre until the female lab tech came back.

 

“Alright, that’s that boys! Now we can… get back… to the rest of… the day.”

“Have a good day now young miss, wuz a pleasure.”

 

The female lab tech walked past the two men who still hadn’t moved since she climbed out of the rail system.

 

“See you later old man.”

“I hope for your sake you don’t boy.”

 

Walter said under his breath as the two of them broke eye contact.

 

“Now you sexy thing how about reconsidering taking that wedding ring off and getting on all fours for me.”

“You need to stop talkin like that boy!”

“My dick don’t concern you old man!”

 

A blast fired from the back of Georgi’s mech and Walter dashed out of the way just in time, letting the blast be absorbed by the kinetic barrier causing the runner lights to brighten all along the pathway.

 

“Get on the rail girl, get out of here!”

“Where’s that accent of yours old man!”

 

Georgi erected a barrier of his own as he fired off his machine gun directly at Walter’s cockpit. Walter aimed his oval cargo gun which was useless up until now and lifted Georgis barrier and spun it around, deflecting bullets all over. Georgi charged at Walter, shattering the mobile barrier and squeezing Walter’s mech against his and the Kinetic barrier. Smoke and sparks were shooting out from the back of Walters mech as the barrier was trying to bounce it away and Georgi’s was crushing it against the barrier. Walter moves a secondary load arm which was the only one free and grabbed a laser edged buzz-saw and went straight for Georgi’s cockpit, forcing him to move an arm away from restraining Walter to stop the saw. Walter noticed the shift in weight and took the opportunity to shove him away with the two arms that were no longer being held down. Georgi stumble backward and fell over not expecting the shove off.

 

“I guess I should tell you before you die old man that I was really hired by Kellen-side to destroy Ellen-side. They got everything in place to rule it as an industrial accident. But forget that, they’re paying me a bucket load of money to do it. Reason why I was hitting on the lab tech earlier is that shes not gonna have a husband for too much longer!”

 

Georgi’s thrusters kicked on and a barrier that was outlawed save for a few people flickered on around him. He was aiming straight for Walter’s mech.

 

“Big daddy if he hits us with that on he’ll cut us in half!”

“I know Sheila hang on. Did you bring “The Big Un” over?”

“He’s been hovering 10 floors below us this whole time.”

 

Georgi charged forward with the arms of his mech completely unfolded which was outlawed within city limits. They were cutting out sections of the walk way as he roared forward. The charging mech was like the last part of the laser wall from those Resident Evil movies, no way to dodge it within the hallway. Walter fired an impulse blast at the nearby wall and rammed through it. He quickly un-clicked Sheila from the console and kicked through the heads-up-display. He punched his cyber-leg and a rocket boost shot out from his foot just long enough to keep him air-born as his Hunter mech flew up beneath him. He dropped down into his seat and without letting the cockpit close completely he tapped the side of the Ellen-side building on his heads-up screen and yelled, “FIRE!”. Two tow cables rocketed up the side of the building and shot through the wall and locked in, scaring some workers as they exploded through. Georgi was a red silhouette on Walters screen and was almost at the end of the passage and the doors were not going to close in time. Walter’s tow cables pulled him up at blinding speed. Just as he got barely in front of Georgi he pulled out his mechs dagger and it became engulfed in the same field that was allowing Georgi to ram through the kinetic barriers. Walter crashed through the side of the walkway and sliced Georgi and his Hunter Mech in half. The top sliding to a stop in between the bulkhead doors.

 

“Petulant child.”

DEFIANCE, the story told through multiple mediums.

For my thoughts on the beta scroll down to the blue Heading below.

First let me say that I am an MMO fan. I can blame .hack//sign for these feelings I have towards them. I remember reading the manga when I was but a young lad thinking it would be so awesome if this were real. A few years later I learned about how computers had these amazing games on them far beyond what I had seen before. Let me date myself by saying the last computer games I had remembered playing were on floppy disks and let’s just say i never had access to the good ones.

—-Fast forward some odd numbers of years to the present.—-

So recently (march 24th) I checked my gmail for the first time in forever, and saw an email titled “You’re invited to Defiance Advance Mission Beta 3” My eyes opened wide and I did nothing but stare at my screen for a moment noticing I had 1 day to test out this ambitious way of telling a story. Soon after I realized my PS3 was sitting in front of me, I looked back at the screen and the voucher code was yelling at me to get moving. A couple of button presses later I was downloading the 6.1 gig file which over the current PSN took quite a while but shorter than my initial dl of DC Universe Online but that’s another story.

I was watching something on SYFY one day and saw the trailer for Defiance and I was instantly captivated. For a while I had been diving into what makes a story while trying to finish my first novel. The way they wanted to tell their story was through the television show, the MMO, as well as their online presence. What caught my attention was that the show will affect the game and vise-versa. They said you wouldn’t have to play the game to get the full story. That’s mainly for those who aren’t into the gaming thing. But for those who watch the show and play the game there’s going to be a totally new sense of immersion. You may start to feel like you are apart of the universe they have created, and really that is how you know you’re enjoying the story they’re telling you. We don’t know much about the universe beyond what we’ve been told in the short videos they have been releasing on http://www.youtube.com/defiance.

Off the top of my head It starts with “The War of Defiance”. Earth is being forcibly terraformed by the antagonists. The human race along with some others are forced to set aside their differences in order to keep Earth the same blue ball of life she currently is. I’d rather let the site tell you so here http://defianceworld.tumblr.com/ check that out. I haven’t yet because I just decided I’d write this first. Also check out http://www.defiance.com for more info.

For the most part I am extremely excited for the future of this story. It is not just a television show or a game, it is a story with many facets. I am anxious to start watching the show and luck willing I’ll be able to buy the game and continue what I started in the Beta that 24th of March 2013.

So, how was the beta?

First I’d like to make clear that the beta is being handled by the same company that is responsible for another MMO which is very popular, Rift. It has been said that the launch for this game was by far one of the smoothest for the scale it is. Another game they have under them is Warface which is another very anticipated game which is running the Crytek engine. But enough about them.

When I hit start I was greeted by an opening cinematic which looked “in-game” for the most part. Story right off the bat, which I loved. I wasn’t thrust into character customization right away. I got a pretty good sense of what was going on before I made my alter ego. There were 4 character types to choose from, I can’t say much for the others but I chose an Irathient machinist as my new me. It comes with a fairly powerful light machine gun. In your starting area you immediately meet Cass, and EGO. Cass a fellow Irathient and EGO you’re very own personal AI so to speak. EGO serves as your tutorial as well as an aid throughout the game. She tells you when you are near by an event in the massive world and offers little tips on what to do. Granted it was the beta so she may have been behind the action on more than one occasion, but for the most part she was fairly useful and never got on my nerves with updates on nearby time attacks, or Arkfall events, or other events i didn’t decide to take part in, there was always something to do if i decided to stray from the main story quest. They were the fairly basic MMO styled, kill these monsters, or escort this character alive but before I knew it, I found myself having done at least 10 side missions before realizing I had started on my way to the next mission in the story. Basically even though it was the beta I was surprised at the amount of things there were to do.

Enemies can quickly out number you and at many times I remember thinking, “They are definitely encouraging playing with a friend or two.” I’m not saying it was impossible to solo, it was fairly easy to come up with ways to avoid the AI’s blood lust. and get the right angle of attack on the onslaught that was mutated, heavily armed and angry. That said I like to describe myself as the anti-social gamer, I will most likely end up soloing most of the game anyway and only joining parties for the Arkfall events.

Once I got back on track with the story I found out that there was a weapon upgrading system which I just had to spend far too much time on. So basically my favourite weapon combo was a burst fire assault rifle and a high-capacity pistol. My second load out which you could switch by hitting start, triangle, circle, ( A button combo i found myself getting quite used to, switching my fighting style rather effectively during a fire fight.) was a sniper rifle and a shotgun. Each of these weapons has slots on which you can put attachments on to augment their recoil, dmg output, melee hit strength, reload speed, and accuracy. After I found out about these immediately noticed a difference in the way I engaged enemies. I didn’t have to correct my aim as much with the smg, I found myself getting closer to my enemies and using the assault rifle more than the sniper rifle. For the most part I always choose a sniper, whether with bows and arrows or guns I usually enjoy those more than being pummelled to death in cqc. Besides DUST 514, this was the only other game that I actually decided to try cqc. Having not played borderlands I’m not sure how those weapons would compare, but I loved how I could customize each gun to my play style and I actually noticed differences in them.

Another feature I found extremely useful was the dodge. A quick double tap of the circle button and pointing the left analog in a direction will have you tumble out of harms way rather effectively. I fell in love with it, especially after I had to battle an insect about 4 times as large as me and it really enjoyed a full speed tackle straight at me. And that’s another thing, whether it is an Arkfall event, or another side mission or the main missions, the mini bosses are amazing.  Non of them were easy and I found myself dying quite a few times. There’s another thing, death can be expensive, so playing with at least one other person can benefit your scrip(in-game currency) count. However I never found myself in want of more money.

Another thing I am digging on is the writing. Each character had just enough personality to where you actually cared about what was going on with them. When the beta ended and I along with the other players were kicked I was in a mission with a law keeper by the name of Jon Cooper and I found myself wanting to continue the mission and find out what was going to happen to him and me next. The same with Cass, I found myself wanting her to go on that mission with Cooper and I so that we’d have a bit of a team dynamic going on. It was strange, but I guess it makes sense seeing as how the game is helping to tell the story. Honestly I would’ve been upset if I didn’t feel anything for the characters.

Now for the bad. As it was Beta glitches are expected, and they personally stated they lifted the NDA so that they could see, hear, and read about said glitches. Enemies would shoot across the screen, and disappear into the mountain sides. One actually got stuck in a building and was shooting and reloading constantly until I completed the mission. Enemies would also just appear in front of me and would glitch damage me into submission but as it’s been said Beta is Beta, so I’m hoping all the clipping, teleporting, seemingly overpowered and simple-minded AI issues are ironed out by the time of release. That said I still loved the game and the story behind it, both were still strong enough for me to not even bat an eyelash at any of those negatives, because β = β and is not equal to a final product.

On the 21st of march I received this email, http://view.email.triongames.com/?j=ff2c11757c64&m=fe9513707560027d7c&ls=fe5c16797262077d7611&l=ff5d117672&s=fe5d1570766002747012&jb=ff961174&ju=fec415727c630c7d&r=0

This to me says that they actually care about the story they are trying to tell, why else would they encourage this? It’s saying that maybe, just maybe, they are not just out to rake in some cash by selling a game based on a show. It’s quite possible that they are indeed focused on the game as an immersive story telling device. Granted it’s a 60 dollar game, but the amount of work that is going into this story of Defiance is on a massive scale. I have my doubts and reservations as this whole project is massively ambitious, but as the internets say, My body is ready.

                            
         
                                             DEFIANCE
        

The Walking Trees of Mars

Guardians, left there since just before the end. They wait, in deep slumber unknown to any tree on our Earth. They wait for the day when they can wake their mother up. Left to live after the end they are only active in the realm of dreams. There they enjoy things never possible in their own bodies. Tough and strong like the Lignum Vitae they have met storm after storm when their planet was awake. Now they meet the harsh weather of open space as the surface of their mother is whipped by the harsh winds ever shewing forth from the son of the universe, and the centre of our system.

The two to witness their awakening were sent the UN, to study, to learn, to try and figure out what had happened in the past of the little sibling of our mother Earth. One sign lead them to the truth, long forgotten by the beings of this system, the crawling dirt. It is seen by one of two. She calls to her colleague quite a ways away who is still confounded by the fact they can breath without any apparatus to aid them. An atmosphere ever so thin, ever so delicate just strong enough to hold the oxygen given off by the once sleeping guardians. The two scientists are astounded by what they see, colours in shapes and patterns that haven’t been documented since the LSD experiments of years past back on Earth, littering the ground beneath the tree. The ground shakes like a twitch that surges through your body when stretching. The tree before them pulls two long roots out from the ground beneath it, yet the two standing before it are not afraid in the least. Like a child the woman climbs the tree and sits among it’s leafy greens. The man, lost in awe as his friend calls out to him as the tree starts to move. He catches up and jumps onto the barky caricature of a leg. The tree moves fast yet steady over the barren terrain of Mars. Each step easy and soft as though there were flowers littered about the ground to consider.

The forest came from no where. Here on mars, a forest filled with plant life and the sounds of the weirdest bird songs the two had ever heard. It stops before s cliff face, the tree, and the two climb down the body of the guardian and finally see what the tree had brought them to see. Pictographs of the last days of Mars, but not only that, further down the walls of the cliff something seen encircling the other planets as well as smaller versions of the gas giants. The guardian shuddered signalling it was time to leave, for now, it was the moons turn over the sky, and the little atmosphere the guardians had put in place up til now was not enough to maintain warmth throughout the night. Back through the forest just at the end it dissolved from their view and the they were now closer to their base camp than where they had met the silent guardian. It’s roots dug into the ground as it returned to it’s duty as the guardian sentinel for its mother. 2 more trees emerging from an unseen forest behind it were spotted as the two from Earth were lifted away in their craft back to Earth to show what they documented, and what the pictographs said was approaching, and how all they learned was thanks to the Walking Trees of Mars.

The End and the Beginning

It started with monsters appearing seemingly from nowhere, then before they knew it the people found their universe under siege. Star hopping to find an escape what’s left of the human race finds an old shrine with the hoards encroaching upon them. A woman experiences an ecstasy from nowhere and her son fearing his mother is going mad pulls on her shirt exposing her left breast by accident. At once a doorway opens in the cave and the people know they have finally found the utopia talked about in their stories of ancient times. With the few belongings they have left, the people discard their weapons as they pass through to a brand new universe. Time and time again this cycle repeats. Universe after universe is destroyed and by a stroke of luck, or a divine hand, they find the way to open the portal. A female orgasm, a mother who has lost her husband and only has her son left as family, something about these energies open the doorway to a brand new universe to a brand new planet. Not an earth but the first to support life, it looks barren but is rich in everything the people need to live happy and full lives. After seeing the civilizations we have come from, it would seem over the millenia, people forget these happenings. Only to suffer them time and time again as if they were a trial of the human soul every universe must put us through these when we forget.

It’s happening again, another universe has come under attack a group of survivors have found the planet on which life first appeared in their universe. Again when all is lost a woman with no prior sign has an orgasm, it’s not at all dissimilar from a sexual orgasm but it is somehow intensely different. her son pulls on her shirt, her left breast is exposed and the door way opens. This time I walk through with the people. They acknowledge me and as we pass through it is like walking through space itself. The fear is left behind us in that old crumbling universe and we are walking higher up into a circling mass of light and gas, this is the new Universe. Blue’s and whites circle around unending in a vortex around a bright white light in the center. This, in this amazing area of space is life itself. The engine which drives life to take physical form, this is the Deus Ex Machina. I gaze upon it with my own eyes, moved to tears at it’s beauty. Earthen coloured stairs rising up in nothing for those who deserve to continue to live their lives the ones who have surpassed all thought and preconceived notions of the universe searching for a truth they felt in their bones when everyone else gave up. These few would be seeds to descend from the stars to continue the legacy of the human race, for another trillion years until the darkness came again. Only by walking closer to the vortex I understand these things and many others. We pass through the now gold-white-and blue Galaxy shape and we step onto a new planet with animals I can’t dare describe and a sky of a curious blue, akin to the blue sometimes seen in the sclera of a babe. this planet so pure and unmolested by the people who are the first to step on it, here will finally be a civilization that will truly live in peace and harmony with each other and this planet.
I look back through the doorway, and in a single glance I can see the entirety of the universe that was still being pillaged and destroyed from the inside out by the darkness, the monsters that appeared there so long ago. A trillion years of life, and emotion, in an area no bigger than a 3 foot deep pool with a 9 foot diameter. Even seeing the lights of the stars turned off, one by one it still holds a beauty unparalleled by anything ever made by man, or that man could ever hope to create. A perfection so perfect the very image stays burned in my mind till this day.

Days pass and we have already started to enjoy what this new planet has to share with us. Simple mining to create dwellings designed over the millenia in our previous universe we use what the planet has prostrated before us not looking farther than we need. The plans have been set, and the architects, pleased with their designs. A few of us lay resting, talking without a care in the world. True nirvana. We read a news paper we have created for fun, a single page recalling a recent happening with someones cat. A picture expertly drawn, almost jumping off the page. It feels like it has been years since we were able to enjoy such calm, such truthful peace. I hear a voice call out from the distance, it seems someone has made food. We get up and looking upon the ground on which I had been laying, a familiar sight of the old world meets my eye. A simple pill bug no bigger than the nail of my smallest toe. At first I think I should be revolted but then I remember everything that has happened up to this point and I finally understand, to be at peace with yourself is to be at peace with the universe, this new world. The doorway not to far away from us, I look at it lovingly finding comfort in its perpetual movement never ceasing, always moving at the same speed. At the end of a stone path that stretches out, ending in a cliff as if to greet our old home. Then a thought occurs to me, if we got through, whats to stop the darkness from following. I ran to tell the others, but then… I woke up.

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