What Do We Know – Slipspace Transportation

Any sentient species in the galaxy can sum up the major transportation systems by one word: resourceful. When you can’t use one method for space travel, others are available, for a price.

Simpler species, like the humans of Terra Firma, could assume there is one method just by calculating the vast distances between worlds, their current physics mathematics, their technology, and scores of science fiction stories most species fall asleep over. And stick with it.

Such narrow-minded reality thinking is not tolerated. It’s best to remind them what’s available, starting with the cheapest.

Cryogenics is still active, as intravenous fluid engineered to create an artificial state of hibernation, or the cryo tube for full-body deep freeze. Scores of people in one ship traveling in deep space on a designated course. Although this is the cheapest and is limited to traveling between planets, this is frowned upon when associated with alleged smuggling, kidnappings, slavery, non-sanctioned medical practices, and high-level prisons. Not to mention the high loss of time.

Faster than Light or FTL, Subspace, Warp – whatever comes first, these are called the “bedrock methods.” Most of the time they raise their first contact changes. But not limited to technological means. The crystal-born Soleren species for example master the form of solar sailing, riding the solar winds from one system to another. They are also the most popular in price and convenience, but limited to time as it takes years to cover the Galactic Republic’s jurisdiction.

Wormholes cover the longer distances. This can be on the same level as Slipspace, but non-Slipspace wormholes and folded space is still limited to our universe’s laws of physics and the magic they’re created from. The loss of time is reduced, but still not as close to being near instantaneous, and sometimes unstable to keep alive. Even for basic way gates and rituals.

Knowing these methods is useful if you can’t afford a Slipspace crystal for a round trip. If you don’t mind the time loss, that’s okay. But when it comes to the government itself in military, economic, and political power, time is essential. Slipspace crystals are expensive, especially how they are produced.

Crystals in our universe are either chemically or magically grown in rich mineral deposits, or certain elements combined with high pressure and heat. Days, years, centuries to grow, depending on the ion matrix. Magic crystals have ion matrixes to flow and store magical energies for spells, and that include the crystal-made species.

Yet Slipspace crystals are magically grown, but grown by force.

They are grown in special nurseries; several locations among major trade sectors and smaller establishments in lesser traveled sectors. The Gamel Group is the current farmer. The planet-based underground facilities are heavily guarded with military troops and spacecraft, surface defense batteries, drones, and sometimes a Titan Spire, making these establishments as secure as the Council Chambers. It is a maze of corridors, machines, labs, magic, and vessel docks, surrounding a massive open cylinder 1,000km into the planet.

The cylinder’s top is an advanced black hole generator with a copper ring etched with ancient arcane glyphs. The first set of glyphs are designed to negate the black holes distortion effects of time, space, and gravity. The second set is used to rip the hole’s event horizon. And the third set is Slipspace’s dimensional frequency, injected into the event horizon to create fissures into Slipspace. It’s difficult to keep these fissures open.

Once active, wizards and witches employed by Gamel Group use an intense magic ritual and psychic power to “pull” the Slipspace energy through the fissures into our universe.

A second copper ring, energized by a second set of wizards and witches, hovers over the energy where it transmute, crystalize, and clusters the fresh Slipspace crystal into an ever-flowing tube of raw material.

The magic users can’t continue the process; they must rotate every hour to keep the crystal growing and mitigate health issues. The Gamel Group’s hiring campaigns are an extent of their force, empowering fresh recruits that the work is for the greater good of the Republic. By honest truth, their healthcare program is well funded. The most common injuries is brain fatigue, sometimes damaged if breaks don’t occur. They are employed for one Creos year, and they choose whether to continue or not. Five years is the maximum limit when retirement benefits start.

And this operation never stops.

Many have tried to replicate the process in smaller scales, mostly to sell unstable crystals in the market at a cheaper price, but really they are enchanted bombs to the gullible. Cracking down these “dummy crystals” is an unending fight, resulting in immediate execution and destruction.

The crystal grows down toward the planet’s core. The chamber’s walls are stacked with mining machines to carve the standard sizes for portables and ships, then shipped out across the Republic, heavily tracked to limit black market trade. Revenue is collected to maintain the nurseries, healthcare, and security.

Entering Slipspace by Drive or waygate is straightforward. It uses separate wormholes, temporarily made with magic barriers, electromagnetic forcefields, and gravity to let our universe’s matter travel through. Without the reinforcement, the matter is vaporized. To create these wormholes, it starts with a cannon attachment to the Slipspace Drive, designed with the same principles as the nursery’s glyphs but without wizards to transmute crystals. The energy is pulled and builds with the necessary protection and entry/exit coordinates until shot out. Then the energy explodes into a wormhole rift toward the destination, where the ship is pulled through by gravity before it closes behind the ship.

But still, Slipspace travel is not perfect. There is the matter of navigation.

What people need to realize is that our place in the universe, or a house on the hill, or a single empty spot in space, nothing ever stops moving. And so does Slipspace. For example, when a wormhole is made, where is the exit point in Slipspace? Choosing where to exit without a map will either put you several yards from your entry point, in another system, in another government, or uncharted space, lightyears from civilization.

The SCN is but a helping hand to Slipspace’s transportation network. Using the communication towers, a millennia of curated star charts, and echolocation and triangulation of tower rifts inside space, cartographers generate coordinates of every place in the Republic, and update those coordinates in the main Slipspace maps database whenever our universes “shift” and have to recalculate them every few hundred years. The goal is to find the entry/exit coordinates with the least amount of travel time at possible chance.

For example, the entry point outside Creos’s moon’s orbit and exit point between Terra Firma and its single moon have travel times between ten to fifteen minutes, give or take by wormhole path and ship speed.

With single ship travel that can’t afford crystals, waygates are utilized. These gates use drive arrays to make the massive wormholes for larger ships and ship fleets. This can also reduce the Slipspace crystal use on ships and the cost per ship per use is higher on the long term, but convenient.

This system has been stable and somewhat reliable for a long time, beyond the Republic’s existence, and does not see any sign of letting up.

What Do We Know – Slipspace Communication and UTs

Throughout the Galactic Republic, Slipspace is rudimentary to the government’s power, the lifeblood to the Milky Way galaxy. But the technology is not a permanent stream; this universe is bound to its limitations. Being simple in design, an artificially grown crystal with a specific ion matrix is used as a fuel source and the true representation of hybrid tech. It is hard to manufacture but incredibly self-reliant for all communications.

But what is Slipspace?

This alternate dimension does not mimic our dimension as one would theorize and what not scientists and wizards could explain. It is a dimension made entirely of energy—chaotic, limitless energy—much stronger than solar fusion and as a speck to human nuclear energy. It can literally make human physicists forget they wear underwear before workout out the mathematical formulas. It was discovered long before the Galactic Republic was formed. How or why it was discovered generates conflicted stories. The Archives don’t have the original story, not even the oldest of gods. An accident? A cosmic event found at the right time? A mad titan’s ambition? Economics? Who knows. Understand that others tried refining it as ship fuel and weaponry, but tried and failed like the energy-hungry Sygren people, the energy cannot survive in our universe. So much for the primal need to have limitless energy to power our cities.

Yet it exists. It has purpose.

The Goru Slipspace Drive is the machine to make the connection possible. This device is built as three electromagnetic rings encased in a glass globe rotating a crystal. One rear door allows access to install crystals or perform repairs, while two clamps on either side keep the globe tight to a control base. Using a small enough voltage to the rings and rotate at high velocity, the crystal shatters a little to rip a portal between our world and Slipspace. It is then linked with another Drive to create a stable wormhole. And like any fuel, crystals are diminished. Looking through the event horizon, Slipspace is literally “chewing” at the shards until the device shuts down or diminishes the crystal supply, closing the rift.

Humans would believe the drive designs are from an alien corporation. It could be mistaken for a Vyroken invention. No. The designs are shared to the citizens by the Galactic Republic, by decree as a life right. Businesses and military can build them. Even younglings in science class can build them. The designs date before the formation of the Republic by an extinct species that remain nameless to this day.

For communications using Slipspace, there is no real form of Slipspace comms like radio or subspace. The nature of the dimension is that of thick sludge. The energy does not generate or carry sine waves. Shoot radio signals into it and they dissipate. But shoot radio waves through a wormhole and are energized by the dimension to reach the other end almost instantly, without loss, static, or latency. This alone is proof to establish a Slipspace mesh network of wormholes that allows all radio technologies, vital for video conferences, remote robotics, live RNN broadcasts, entertainment, military strategy, and much more.

This network is built upon Slipspace Drive Towers designed to handle vast amounts of information. These are installed in systems, orbiting or on capital worlds. A cylindrical tower houses the antennas covering 360° of coverage, controlled by a server and router network to code, decode, translate, and re-translate the mathematics. Then they are sent down toward the Drive chamber where all communications are transmitted and received in yottahertz(human measure) through the Slipspace rift. A separate computer monitors the Drive from mechanics to energy levels. So for refilling it after a crystal is depleted, three more Drives are in standby mode: the next drive activates, the computer switches them, and the process continues with only a five-second delay, working around the clock. tower crystals are grown large enough to last a hundred years until restocked.

Of course, every tower is guarded by autonomous sentries capable of ripping enchantments and ship fleets to pieces. Nothing and nobody, not even an iron meteorite, can come close to the towers.

Now if a system doesn’t need the towers, they can use subspace. It still falls under our universe’s physics so it’s limited to cluster systems and relay stations.

The Slipspace comm network, or SCN, is impressive, but that doesn’t help with language barriers.

Also decreed by the Galactic Republic as a life right and spread to all major electronic guilds and corporations specializing in hybrid tech, universal translators are created, or UTs for short.

They are built as collars, most used design, for users with extendable earpieces that don’t obstruct the user’s natural hearing. Other designs like pins, helmets, or wrist devices with wireless earpieces are built; it’s up to the person or species will.

One computer, installed with the user’s dictionary, reads off the inscribed glyphs on the casing or band that handle in-air phonetic translation. Whatever the person says, the user hears them through the glyph’s translation in their language. The other way, the user speaks his own language, and the person hears him/her in their language through the device. Two UTs can lower the computer’s processing power but doesn’t cure bad lip sync.

If personal UTs are not readily available, special techno-enchanted strips and poles networked to language libraries are placed in ships and cities, including hawker markets and government buildings with the most language barriers to hurdle over. There is software available for translating words and glyphs for all mechanical and magical computer systems.

But the main goal for these two feats of communication from the Council is that they must lower misunderstanding across multiple species. They want everybody to talk, without restrictions or boundaries, and not alienate each other. Take that away, and there will be war.

Now we could go on about communication technologies, but that will need to be discussed some other time.

What Do We Know – The Galactic Republic

The Milky Way galaxy; quiet from afar but busy from within.

Humans on Terra Firma still conflict with each other whether life exists outside the Sol system, or their planet is the universe’s center to be that naive, while fighting over who’s religion is right or wrong.

But it’s no secret. The galaxy is full of life, and far more established than what humans could comprehend.

Multitudes of species, races, cultures, technology, and magic, among seventeen billion worlds. Many forms of flesh, elemental, energy, cosmic, autonomous, and synthetic. Species that want to explore, trade, communicate, conquer, and perhaps kill, all in the name of surviving in this universe.

So the Galactic Republic was established eons ago to serve as the galaxy’s identity for all free species. At the center of the Republic’s laws is the Galactic Council, homeworld-elect members of each species and sworn in for their seven-year term to debate, ratify and mandate laws and trials over diplomacy, security, economics, technology, magic theory and practice, while keeping a half-step back from specie politics. A daunting task to watch over so many worlds and their inhabitants, yet they must follow three doctrines to keep it going, in absolute reason why: life preservation, communication, and prosperity.

What all council members must realize is that life is precious and sacred. They foremost want to keep life going and prevent extinction-like occurrences. Records from the census A.I. Thergeos, there are over a thousand registered species in the Republic. A few dominant species have their own governments such as the Synth Dominion, The Order, the Halcunac Empire, and others within or outside the Republic’s domain, but the Council lets those governments operate in feuds or partnership unless there is a life threatening situation upon the Republic. This also applies to primitive species.

Species that haven’t advanced themselves—culturally, technologically, or extraterrestrial tolerant—they are kept under watchful eye of the Primitive Culture Protection Act; protection from outside threats while promoting natural evolution without extraterrestrial influence. A formal First Contact ritual is conducted once a primitive species is recognized as evolved, but in more ways selective of why joins the Republic on many factors. The last ritual was with Kyta, homeworld of the Kytalthans over seven hundred years ago and Councilmember Tress Ki is the lead support of drought relief on ill-terraformed planets.

But some protected species are hostile, both themselves and/or others, and present a real danger to the Republic’s values are marked as Red Flagged, planet and system included. Like Terra Firma, one of twenty known worlds at this status.

Humans are not magical, evolved, not agreeable with each other, disputed as extremely hostile to extraterrestrials, but their cognitive thinking of destructive scenarios while perversely building nuclear weapons without regard of all life, even themselves, is a major threat to the Republic. Imagine if they realize extraterrestrials exist?

Their system, including the oort cloud, is blocked from all incoming transmissions from neighboring systems so to make them they are alone in the universe, while under constant observation. Anyone who enters the system is, sadly, a lost cause. No hope for Red Flagged worlds to ever join the Republic, for any reason.

With communication between species, the Galactic Republic standardizes magic and technology to everybody.

Every Republic civilization has magic-enhanced computers called Universal Translators, or UTs, deeply integrated within locations and as small device in remote areas. Species can speak their language without even learning the other’s (their choice to want to), but the hybrid tech can live translate speech without delay or echo. This is especially important to limit miscommunication and misunderstanding. They are installed as towers, tubes for ships, or worn as collars, or anything; the designs are open to anybody without corporate restrictions.

Transmitting information is also standardized. The technology behind it can be discussed in length, but Slipspace is dominant to carry all transmissions in almost real time. Array towers are scattered across known systems and planets in a broadcast network, with enough Slipspace crystals to last a hundred years before restock. Ships do have Slipspace Drives for encrypted transmission, integrated or portable. This network is vital for trade routes, news outlets, military, personal use, and civilian entertainment.

The technology can be discussed in depth later.

As of government prosperity, the Republic does not conquer worlds as others assume. They grow by nature, by First Contact species, and never go beyond what they can’t cover. Even advanced civilizations have their limits and borders. Yet being as big as the Republic, it doesn’t forget its citizens and where they come from. The ancient lawmakers instilled a practice even today is ambitious and daring.

Other governments have static capitol planets; the Galactic Republic is symbiotic to chosen planets.

The entire government operates on platforms and motherships. The Galactic Council is housed in the Ark Mothership, built as the size of a small moon, and joined with several motherships as sub-capitols, or districts, that hold everything from the entertainment, business, economy, ship harbors, industry, agriculture, markets, village life, housing, to military power such as the Royal Navy. The districts are independent from the Ark and hover over the host planet with a highly advanced public transportation system. Platforms and space stations orbit the planet, some have more than what the districts could offer.

Currently, the host planet is the Class-M planet Creos, homeworld of the Creosians and their Councilmember Trygo “The Hammer” Denverbay, in it’s 321st year.

So as being a symbiotic capitol, there is bound to be issues with the planet’s inhabitants. Not so. There are strict guidelines to prevent melding of species. No wars are made against the host planet. No destruction of the inhabitant’s economy or way of life. It is left as is before and after the motherships and stations teleport to a new host planet every five-hundred years by popular vote.

So for one Councilmember, Trygo, a battleship captain, his crew and another ship’s crew, an unlucky Halcunac mercenary, and a RNN investigative reporter, there is little known of what is happening on Terra Firma, and what it might cause to the Galactic Republic.

Mana Pool – The Ghost Factor – Chapter 1 Sample

Happy Halloween, folks.

The second novel is still not done. That’s just the hard fact to stomach, and I know it’s taking this long to write it. I figure that since it’s taken this long, I’ll just have to cave and share what I have.

One chapter. Just one. That’s all you will get for now. Hope you enjoy the beginning, I’d love to hear what you think.

Mana Pool Divider

wave_crystal

Magnolia Lane Plantation

Derry, Louisiana

April 14, 2013 10:17 PM ATW

Remember me saying things will get complicated after my sister got home? Well, fuck complicated. Things got ridiculous.

One hour. Just one hour from starting the night’s hunt and everything turned south so fast. My right hand shook my camcorder and flashlight in the other as fear radiated through my body, causing goosebumps on my arms to rise as dense as sandpaper. I experienced poltergeist activity before, but miss, after The Wave, this felt different.

I mouthed curses as I watched a candlestick float several feet away from me in the upstairs hallway. All three candles were lit, orange and yellow flames flickered. It swayed right to left, slow and ominous. It was a cliché, right out of a ghost story, but it was real. It happened.

I was scared, but the greatest feeling was excitement.

“K-Keep recording, this stuff is great,” I said to Alex.

“How about breathing? You’ll jerk that camera off your hand,” Alex said, more scared than me. I failed to make a comeback.

What we witnessed and captured was as much as movie and TV special effects. Now, before The Wave, those effects did not exists in the real world. Actual poltergeist activity like objects moving on their own were rare. Common activities were EMP spikes on detectors, disembodied voices in white noise recordings, and unexplained white orbs on video. Capturing the rare events is a hunter’s goldmine to prove the afterlife’s existence.

It’s as if The Wave shook the ghost world too. But from my knowledge, people refuse to acknowledge it’s a big deal.

“Poke it,” Alex said.

“Poke a candlestick?” I said back. “Alex, knock off the jokes.”

“Who’s the leader? You are. You convinced us to come here and you’re the most needy to get evidence. It’s your hunt. Check for wires. It has to be wires.”

My former investigation partner was this stuck up skeptic of the supernatural. We knew each other since college. He covered the equipment issues like batteries, memory cards, replacements, and some repairs since his film degree didn’t go anywhere. He needed a side job anyway. Yeah, it took some convincing to join me on this hobby of mine, but the travel aspect was the seller. He kept his stubbornness and skepticism, but since The Wave, it lowered to being anti-terran. He was scared of magic as the rest, even checking whims for tattoos every day, anticipating the day he’ll be what my sister is.

“Knock it off with the wire jokes, Alex. If you think so, check yourself,” I said.

“Nah uh. Not me. You-“

The candlestick darted away and into the master bedroom before Alex finished. I cursed loud and my skin prickled.

“What’s going on up there?” Frank yelled from downstairs, another former tech. He was in freelance audio for recording studios, the one that made a living on his degree.

“Don’t come up, we got this! Stick with Tabitha and Sassel,” I said and ran to the bedroom, fearing just about anything to go wrong.

Luckily the curtains were only on fire. Good thing it wasn’t the bed. “Shit! Alex, help me with this!”

The plantation-era antiques had been preserved by the owners for years. They’d kill me if I let anything else turn to ash. The candlestick was out and on the floor. I kicked it away as I and Alex tore the half-burning curtains down and stomp them out. The floor was scorched a little but better than a burning building, right?

Alex’s voice jittered as he talked. “Oh man, this is getting too real, Robert. Too fucking real. We need to leave.”

I made several more stomps before saying, “This is small, Alex. It’s the best footage. Tabitha hasn’t even started yet.”

“Small? Listen to yourself! You’re being obsessive. We’ll die if we stay long enough.”

He had his own reasons, but I was the leader. I waited too long to find and capture my evidence and that small poltergeist act would not scare me away.

“We will not die. Stop thinking so overboard about—“

“Fuck this theory. I’m out,” he exclaimed.

I restrained myself from socking him in the jaw. “Alex! This evidence is important. I can’t stress this enough,” I argued. “I’m not backing out and neither is Tabitha.”

“Bringing her was a mistake!” That prejudice tone was there like bad cabernet, strong enough to can’t be drinkable.

“Hey, feel free to leave for all I care. This is the third strike from you about her. Go, but I will not leave until I get my—“

A high pitched scream from downstairs cut me off, and a familiar one to make me forget Alex’s judgement. Frank’s voice came next. “Whoa, whoa, Tabitha, stop! Holy shit!”

Her scream got louder and higher in pitch just like that monk voice during The Wave, but raw fear was mixed to make me feel it within my skin. Magic had a play I’m sure. Blue light shone from the hall, along with the sound of a power generator, lasting for several seconds. Frank screamed again. Then a heavy thud hit the ground floor along with Tabitha’s terror filled voice.

“No,” I whispered.

“She didn’t!” Alex yelled then turned to me. “Nice job getting us killed, dickwad!”

Suddenly, the whole house shook under my feet. The walls groaned like a tired old man. The antiques on the shelves and tables in their place, even some fell and crashed to the floor. I stood strong against it, but Tabitha’s safety was all I concerned about.

I ran out of the bedroom ignoring Alex’s warnings and pocketed my camcorder. I grasped my flashlight tight in my right hand. Alex yelled to wait up but a thud and an “oof” made me turn back. Alex was flat on his chest. An ottoman was under his legs. I never saw that near us but on the other side of the room during the initial house scope an hour ago. Just like other stories. “Alex, you okay?”

He waved me away after groaning. Hi looked up with hateful eyes at me. “I’m fine, but this is all on you. Stop that terran before she kills us!”

“She’s not a killer!” I did not help Alex. Not all terrans are killers. I know it all too well. Screw Alex.

I was almost to the stairs when a table from the wall suddenly moved to block my path. Yep, poltergeist activity was doubling in strength. It had to be terran magic pulling another surprise on me, yet others will argue as always. I dodged it without clipping my hip on its edge. Then a couple of paintings flew at my face as I ran down the staircase, but I avoided each one without hesitation and got to the ground floor.

Frank ran past me in a blur before I stopped him. That guy looked scared to hell, running out the door screaming, “I quit!.” He ran past the Jeep, through the long driveway, dropping his equipment in every direction so to run faster. It felt pointless to stop him.

“Robert, come! Tabitha’s out cold!” Blared a shrill, female Southern voice.

Instead of the voice’s owner, my eyes fell on the living room’s highest poltergeist activity. My flashlight fell from my relaxed hand. Older antiques floated and circled in a vortex of charged mana near Tabitha’s unconscious body. The voodoo priestess-turned-terran was on her back, her white turban was knocked off. She wore her traditional white dress and modified it a while ago to accommodate her terran tail to sway free, but it was pinned under her back. Her pointed ears stood out from her shaved head. On her chest, her black cat totem was performing CPR and swatting Tabitha’s face with no change.

“Dammit, Tabitha, now’s not the time to cat nap!” The cat yelled again with another swat to Tabitha’s cheek, its glowing blue eyes showed much concern.

I called out her name before kneeling beside her avoiding the chaos overhead. She still breathed, shallow, like in a deep sleep, but her mouth moved to quiet mumbles of her ancestral African language, without her deep, sweet Southern motherly accent.

“Sassel, please tell me Tabitha did it intentionally,” I said.

“On purpose? No, she bloody did not! Separate to cover more ground. What a brilliant idea!”

“Never mind that.” I dodged a heavy book that narrowly clipped my head. “What happened?”

She shook her head then said, “She. Got. Scared. She got defensive, charged her mana, and it all got sucked out of her. Happy!?”

I wasn’t. “All of it?”

“Every last drop. Don’t you dare question a totem’s words.”

A gaping hole in my stomach opened. If I knew one thing about totems, they know their masters, all their lives. They are their physical subconscious after all. I had no say to argue against Sassel, but it proved part of my theory. If only I wasn’t so nearsighted to stay with her. Sometimes I hate my bad choices.

“Shit. We need to leave before Hell breaks. Alex, get your ass down here!” I started pulling Tabitha from under her armpits. Man she was heavy. She still mumbled. I then noticed the lack of terran tattoos. Was she really drained of mana?

Alex was already at the bottom of the stairs. He saw the vortex, dropped his camcorder, and bolted out the front door. “Fuck this shit!” He screamed. Jerk.

Before I was five feet from the door, still dragging Tabitha, the floorboards rattled as piano keys to stop me. Each space gave off the familiar blue light. A booming voice of someone—or something—overcame me, as if whaling in bone-splitting pain. Fear overcame me.

Wind from nowhere blew around me, then toward the vortex. I spotted charged mana seeping from the floor board cracks, adding to the growing torrent of energy.

It was close…

That feeling of “Get the hell out!” and “See it before it disappears!” fought within me, but the ladder won. I watched the charged mana morph. It was the same as the other stories, and some video on the internet. Nothing to stop it, yet I had to see see the result for good reason. The thing was near completion when Sassel hissed at it. As it faced us, Sassel screamed and ran out. I stayed, seeing, almost losing my grip on Tabitha. She can summon that?

Some places were fully manifested, some yet to be complete. I could see inside its chest cavity; organs, intestines and ribs expanded with each hoarse breath. Its arms and legs were on different places on the semi-merged torso. Like a headless body drove neck-first into the other’s lower back. It’s stretched head stared down at me with four empty eye sockets. It struggled for air and gurgled fluids, desperate to be alive.

To put it in perspective, that damn thing was a Picasso/John Carpenter stitching of a Confederate soldier and a slave woman.

It’s only a ghost it’s only a ghost, I thought.

It opened their mouths of crooked teeth, unhinged. It gurgled, then screamed to vibrate the whole house and my body.

“BATS TOIIIIIII!”

I snapped myself out of it and found the urge to carry Tabitha on my shoulder and ran out. Frank being long gone, me, Alex (somehow waiting for me), Sassel and Tabitha got into the rental Jeep. I took the driver seat, fired up the engine, and sped on  the driveway screaming as my throat turned dry. Looking in the rear view mirror, the damn ghost was out, running after us, still screaming that word.

“Drive faster!” Alex yelled.

“I am, I am.”

Once I drove passed the gate and looked back, the ghost was already dissolving away.

Told you things got ridiculous!

What Do We Know – Containment Protocol and After

On New Year’s Day morning, the White House was still under lockdown since the nation-wide massacre. Bodies were still being picked up across the capitol by the truckload, cars and infrastructure damaged to untold sums of repair costs, and people had their faces to the live news of the Oval Office.

Sarah Winchester, Secretary of the Interior who worked and educated herself out of Los Angeles’ Skid Row when she was a child, survived the massacre in Capitol Hill after hiding in a closet with three others with a fire axe in her hand. Scores of red-eyed humans that were employees and civilians slaughtered people, each one chanting, “Witnesses must die!” Five of them were outside, bashing at the closet door just to rip the woman’s and the other’s heads off.

She was sure she had no secrets to hide. Holes were made in the wood, bleeding fingers coming closer to them. Winchester raised the axe. Just a few fingers, that’ll hopefully scare them away. Then they withdrew as the red eyes screamed for mercy. Looking through the blood-soaked holes, Sarah saw them holding their heads, then their brains popping out from the side. No gunfire caused it. The halls went silent, as did the whole city in the largest death toll ever recorded.

Winchester remembered that night as she placed her left hand on the Bible and raised her right. “I do solemnly swear…”

The Former President resigned a couple days after the attacks when his daughter got her tattoo and transformed. So with the Cabinet all but obliterated from either being red eye or a victim, Winchester and the Secretary of State were left. When the State secretary was approached for the presidential seat, he refused as he was recovering in a hospital with a dislocated shoulder, and probably torn ligaments, when a red tied tried taking his arm to use as a club. It came down to Winchester, and people where ambivalent about the idea,

“I inherited a disaster,” quoted Winchester in her unprepared acceptance speech, “and I swore to fix it. Right now, don’t look at the formalities. Don’t put whatever is happening to us diminish your lives. Right now, this nation is traumatized, and it’s me and our citizens to make it bounce back.”

Whether it was the Black Death in Middle-Age Europe, the Holocaust, tribal wars over land, and two world wars, the few days after the Wave were confusing, fearful, and coated in blood that daunts the imagination. Humans hostile to terrans; terran sympathizers; anti-terran gangs; terrans fighting back—it was a biohazard witch-hunt across the world.

Governments without warning unanimously agreed to amass all military forces to do one thing: locate terrans, subdue them, and contain them in designated facilities. How to go about it had no limitations. Civilian, citizen, no matter on race, religion, age, class, wealth, cast, or circumstance—people with the tattoo or terrans were branded as enemies, low class beings, terrorists, even demons and aliens.

Ironically, if a soldier gets a tattoo, they are discharged from duty and treated as such, despite the obvious logic and even months into it let alone listen to reason from their new Commander in Chief.

The whole reason for containment was muddled. Religion? Safety? Superstition? God’s power in mortal hands? Finding a cure? You be the judge.

After terrans were seen and people scrambled for answers to hard questions, Russia and North Korea went silent. Communications and trade were cut, borders were locked down. Any chance to gather intelligence was silenced.

After the Pope shared his speech at The Vatican, damaged from embedded Wave crystals and confused Catholics, they closed their gates from Rome, leaving only the Pope, Cardinals, and security staff to contemplate if this event is a gift from God or a curse. It would be months before they opened up with perplexed emotions. Talking to a subconscious representation can question a new terran’s life, especially when several Cardinals became terrans.

The ones who demonized terrans carried out vengeful acts. Demons took over their loved ones bodies. They will never be the same. Too many excuses to count. Even though terrans were stronger and had magic in their hands, they faced humiliation, degradation, torture, even death. They just had no time to study their new gifts, not even a defense spell.

Even authorities joined in the conquest, with high-powered rifles and riot gear.

December 23rd was the start of military control. Soldiers were regimented in every country, in every city, town, farmland, and private land, looking for terrans. The tactics were too good to fowl up; they were so organized. Nothing stopped them from obtaining terrans. If they couldn’t capture the protected ones, everybody got bullets to their chests and heads then move on to the next. Capturing them ranged from smoke bombs, tear gas, tasers, and tranquilizers, then placed in trucks to be hauled away by armed guards.

Groom Lake. Area 51. Known to the public as the military test facility for secret aircraft designs, from the Lockheed U-2 to the F-117 stealth fighter, and the massive security detail surrounding the airfield. As far as pop culture goes, the airbase down to harbor extraterrestrial beings and their UFOs, but that’s up for debate. Yet this base became one of several terran concentration camps in the U.S..

Everyone was fed, but they were also studied. Some were dissected while still alive, harvesting the mana heart, killing their totem over and over to find a breaking point, and if a terran changed up to attack, they were killed instantly and their bodies burned where they lie.

Marshal Law was enacted. The news was blacked out and the Internet became white noise of confusion.

When 8PM Pacific Time rolled, and when Nova Company’s Endeavour entered over Groom Lake restricted airspace, things went from bad to worse.

Soldier’s and people’s behaviors became less rational and more animalistic. Primal even. Most of the humans showed blood coming out of their sockets as they fought, at the same time, across the globe. From children to the elderly, no terran or humans was safe from the red eye’s murderous rage. Some called them mad, deranged, their lust made their blood vessels pop, hyped up on bath salts version two, the Wave crystals way of punishing humans, and also zombies. The symptom was too much to comprehend.

Unsettling as their killings, all of them chanted, “Witnesses must die!” Kind of the most useless information to think over. It could mean anything. The aliens? The transformation? That mystery is still debated to today.

That slaughter, to what Scott and Katie survived, Winchester survived, and all others in the world, lasted for ten minutes.

Groom Lake survivors, all terrans, told of the alien attack, or rescue once the ships captain, Brill Secambre, formally apologized at the White House the day after on the loss of lives. Terrans were ignored by the aliens, as if they were one of them, but finding out the truth drew up confusion with the aliens too. While they escaped the fight between red eyed humans and heavily armed aliens, guns and knifes and magic and fists, they all came under a massive explosion; a blue mushroom cloud over the runway. Soon enough, the side of the red eye’s heads exploded out and the fight ended.

This cascaded across the entire United States. The same moment, same behavior, same ending. No other country had the same scaled of red eye death but all red eyes stopped their killings and their eyes stopped bleeding. Nobody had no memory of their deeds, yet most that were red eyes were seen as suspicious.

Winchester had to work extremely hard to get the country to rebuild. She had to work with what was left of Congress and the Senate to appoint new leaders within two weeks, then set strategic goals for transportation, communication, healthcare, emergency services, foreign trade, and law reform. Winchester did not care about the stock market’s flux periods. She did not care about the little things. Getting the country moving was important. She would have to make some serious decisions in her presidency, such as the Utah Massacre and the New York Riots. And for thinking for the terrans and with interest in the new skills, she pushed for the Terran Equality Act.

“I refuse to see segregation come back, not in my nation,” quoted Winchester in an interview. “If we don’t work together, we will all face the consequences.”

Yet people refuse to listen. Four months in and humans still despise terrans. They just see them as living weapons.

Are terrans doing anything about it? Yes. There are small improvements in farming, manufacturing, entertainment, security, medicine, pop culture, politics, but that news exists on the internet and in person. Popular media? Forget it. The bad news brings in more eyeballs than the good.

Four years. That is how long it will take for the human race to convert to terrans as people speculate. The entire human race going extinct, and that scares a lot of people. So, when they do get a tattoo, they are faced against a hard moral choice: accept your new life, fight for it, and understand your new powers, or die. That plays a lot of ethics, morals, religion, and culture on the human species.

But that is the state of things in the winter of 2013. Who knows what will happen in spring, or summer. Terrans are still discovering themselves every day. It will take time for the transition to find balance.

With everything happening on this small backwater planet in the tail of the Milky Way galaxy, what does the rest of the galaxy think about this?

What Do We Know – The Wave

This is the first in a series of Mana Pool draft notes—facts, history, characters, species, politics, locations, etc.—and are subject to change for the final result. Enjoy the readings.

*****

One week after popular media became infatuated with Jaruka Teal’s presence, report the damage of the controversial containment protocol, and debate the “terran threat,” a small fishing vessel dubbed the Brigadier docked in Skagway, Alaska. It was not their regular port of call: it was an emergency. It’s hull was dented by a Wave Crystal. Holes were noticed and had to be patched, but the cabin it leaked into had to be pumped hourly. The bridge’s roof was caved in, also by a Wave Crystal, but was embedded in the steel behind the captain’s chair. Their radio equipment was fried, no change to signal the Coast Guard until leaving international waters and signal a ship with lights and flare guns. Three out of the four-man crew were severely dehydrated, malnourished, and had signs of post-shock. The captain disclosed that the fourth crew member went overboard when the Wave passed over them, hit by the crystal. The only remains of him was a severed left leg.

Like many others, the captain didn’t believe Asteroid Helen would crash and thought best to keep on fishing. He was three payments away from being debt free. The collective repairs of his vessel would bring him to bankruptcy, and he refused to accept it. He sold off the boat for scrap, let his crew go, and found work on the docks to one day rebuild his fishing career.

His eyewitness account of the Wave and the crash out at sea was important because his boat was the closest than any other vessel. Any information about it was gold to understand what really happened. There is still a possibility that someone was out there, seeing the crash up close, but that was a pipe dream for theorists.

Once the asteroid entered the atmosphere and flew over the ship, the Brigadier’s equipment suffered an EMP pulse nobody could determine how it was generated. The sound-breaking shockwave almost capsized the Brigadier from an ocean wave. Through his binoculars, the captain watched the asteroid crash over the horizon.

It is still unknown how it prevented a tsunami or not ignite the oxygen in the air or flash boil the water, but the Brigadier’s crew didn’t care once the tower of white light rose.

There are three distinct periods of The Wave: the crystal fall, the infection, and the awakening, each one following the next.

In crystal fall, once the tower reached to roughly 30,000ft, it spread to open a rift through space and time, from where or when is still debated and theorized, even with the Department of Experimental Magicks of the Galactic Republic. Ground Zero was then covered in impenetrable clouds. The rift expanded and when the tower extinguished itself, the ring formed, expanding as fast as people could track it. It was over the Brigadier within minutes. The ship’s first mate – scared to consider going to church for the first time since grade school – saw within the rift. He described it as, “a hellish space of reds and purples. I would not suppose demons lived there.”

Crystals fell, like meteors from space and debris from crumbling skyscrapers. There was minimal coverage on the Brigadier to take.

The rift expanded, blanketing the planet’s surface and ocean depths with Wave Crystals. It didn’t matter if the land had life, but human presence was the Wave’s target. Once the Wave hit the mainland, the crystals grew in size and shape. Some buildings survived, while others crumbled from shattered foundations or ripped support beams. Highways and freeways pot-marked, bridges and overpasses collapsed, gridlocking a city’s major infrastructure. Thinner crystals impaled the less fortunate. Rural areas saw minimal crystal fall. Major electrical grids and communications lines were crippled.

The expected cost of damage across the world was, for lack of the better word, undetermined.

Once the rift left the devastated land and the loss of life was so much to comprehend, the crystals started glowing, from the smallest shards to the towering monoliths. Their glow intensified and so did a sound, much like a merged ohm or ah, low to make human bones shake. The major result came from the larger crystals as the sound and light hit their peak. Light burst from them without shattering the crystals. It separated into individual orbs of white light, not much bigger than softballs, and impossible to count them. Streams of light circled a solid ball of light, bright enough to cause blind spots in people’s eyesight. They hovered in the air, and after a minute, every orb scurried like an agitated ant colony, hunting down and merging with every human being. It didn’t matter if humans were hospital bed-bound, hiding under steel plates, in remote places far from civilization, or have yet to be born: no human was left untouched. On contact, people described it as being plugged into an electrical outlet: their nervous system overloaded, their cells tingled, and the amount of pain no human could combat.

Humans collapsed into a coma where they stood, their bodies still twitching minutes later, then still, breathing slow.

Before the awakening, areas were silent. No cars, trucks, trains, or planes(either grounded or taken down by crystals) operated. The sound of an apocalypse, the very sound of silence the earth never heard before humans invented the internal combustion engine. Humans slumbered for a full hour, and just as the Wave passed, humans opened their eyes, breathing in air, and scared of their changed world. Surveillance footage from backup power was frightening enough as animals walked about, unaffected.

It did not take long for the first humans to get their tattoos, marking them as the first terrans.

People scrambled to check with allied countries and were shocked on the Wave’s simple logic. India and China, the world’s most densely populated lands, was whittled down to rubble, corpses on every corner, and a massive blow to the world’s economy. The relief effort is still ongoing to this day as the bodies are still counted, and many aid organizations gave up due to heartache.

People imagined what the end of the Wave created. Determining the coordinates of the island, 55°41’09.3″S 35°34’30.8″E was the opposite, located between the South Atlantic and Indian oceans. Once military ships arrived, their expectations were short lived. The location was baron. Deep sea radar discovered a crystal cluster, seemingly useless in importance.

The UN urged military personnel in every allied country to gather and contain all crystals not stuck in the ground, stuffed in shipping containers, bunkers, storage buildings, anywhere with unused space. Any time to study them met with government and public opinion: no. Only the terrans and their damage on politics, economy, religion, and military were on everybody’s mind to corral and manage.

Four months later when political ease is nowhere in sight, from terran rights, military collapse, to religious conflicts, people noticed the crystals were growing as fast as ornate succulents. Many discredit the evidence and worry about the end of human life in four years.

Interesting note. When Jaruka Teal heard of the Wave from terrans captured with at Area 51/Groom Lake, he said that the rift acted like a similar spell for colony and refugee relocation. The Her Zunel Wahr. The complex ritual is used for temporary terraforming a planet, moon, or asteroid. The magic lasts for months for food production, rest, trade, repair, then move on. Everything else, Jaruka said, was in theory or illegal practice.

If the theory is sound, does this equate to an artificial creation?

What Do We Know – Asteroid Helen

On December 21, 2012 at 12:37PM PST, asteroid K2-5387 commonly known as Asteroid Helen, crashed into the North Pacific Ocean. It was dubbed Ground Zero afterwards, located under three hundred miles from Alaska’s coastline at location 55°41’08.8″N 144°25’29.2”W, just short of the tectonic shelf, and east of Kodiak, AK. This is never forgotten, even when it changed the earth and its dominant species forever. At least, that’s what we know as of now. Let’s recap on what has happened after the crash.

Before it messed up everybody’s lives, it had been a hot topic of speculation since Dr. Maggie Helen discovered it in Hawaii on October 22, 2010, while conducting imaging data for Project Starscape. Every single human—old, young, intelligent, ignorant, and superstitious—had some thought of what its discovery meant and each one polarized another. But the ideal notion on everybody’s head was the movie industry’s fantasy coming to life, played out until people got sick of it within a week: asteroid found, humans panic, religions clash and outcry in public and gruesome demonstrations, and either blown up by oil drillers, astronauts, or plain old faith. That last part is all fantasy. Many governments discussed sending nuclear missiles to blast it away, despite the implications the science community repeated, but that was soon disbanded once countries fought over who would press that ‘Launch’ button. Astronomers calculated the asteroid’s path, published the results, and made sure to everybody that science will prevail.

K2-5387’s trajectory and velocity, along with Earth’s solar orbit speed of 66,000 MPH, the planet will dodge it on December 21. Coincidence that the date is synonymous to doomsday-preachers and in relation to the Mayan calendar. Yet the ancient calendar worked in cycles, not the end of human life. For two years, the entire planet held their breath, and the earth’s inhabitants waited, and studied it.

Asteroid Helen’s surface was, for the lack of a better term, unforgiving. Terrain was mostly sharp spikes of iron ferrite and silica-made glass, charred black and glistening by starlight, which was blasted and melted back from solar heat, making the metal and glass structures malleable as clay, and frozen by below zero space. Other areas were flat, sooth rock plains that were clear enough from the spikes, but were made of denser rock, which was how Jaruka Teal managed to find his landing spot behind the asteroid and out of view from earth’s satellites. And when the asteroid rotated on its axis, Jaruka increases his ship’s cloaking technology. The asteroid was active also, geysers when exposed to heat spewed toxic fumes and ice crystals into space that some stayed behind by the asteroid’s own gravity, yet trailed behind in a green and purple tail.

Months of study and breath holding, and for a few hours, it did pass earth, until it made a sudden ninety degree turn toward the Pacific Ocean.

It entered the earth’s atmosphere, screaming over South and North America at beyond the speed of sound. The land shook under people’s feet. Glass from cars and buildings shattered from the sonic blast, even buildings that could withstand a 7.0 earthquake along the San Andreas fault line were reduced to rubble.

It crashed into the earth’s crust, the tidal wave or wall of fire was prevented somehow, white light erupted into a column into the sky, and an expanding purple ring that sent an uncountable amount of Wave crystals in its wake across the planet’s surface, varying in size and shape. But even more mysterious, and familiar to all, was that Asteroid Helen was shrouded in a dome-shaped cloud 20 miles high and 40 miles wide. Intense seismic activity was recorded too that it was felt across the American coast, but low and nonthreatening. Scientists worried the asteroid was still “active” and was burrowing through the earth’s crust. Some speculated the constant earthquakes would bring the Alaskan coastline under water. It didn’t, but people feared that thought.

The cloud cover over Ground Zero was pure white, but thick and impenetrable by sonar, radar, or infrared. The clouds rotated counter-clockwise. A mile out from the dome, intense ocean waves and riptides turned the surrounding ocean into a torrential death trap. Political stances played on who wanted to monitor Ground Zero for national security. American, Russian, Korean, Chinese and Japanese navy ships circled the area, running distant tests and surveys to understand what was really happening inside the dome. Many speculated, since terran magic was coming into view in professional and amateur journalism and in some cases in practice, that Ground Zero was shrouded in magic. If terran magic was studied late winter, technicians could determine the amount of energy Ground Zero emanated, levels to turn even the tannest of human bone white.

Probes were floated into it, but were destroyed by the circling rapids, then letting the inward riptides take the pieces through the dome. Days later after Jaruka made camp near Lake Skinner in Temecula, CA, an American battleship was suddenly hit by an electromagnetic pulse from the dome; people speculated from afar. The waves drew the ship in by its stern. Most of the crew evacuated by life raft before it reached the outer ring. The waves slammed and ripped through the hull like paper, and its top disintegrated into sand as the bow grazed the dome. The remaining crew on the ship, unable to escape the ship, suffered intense magical energies that their bodies merged with the steel, or ripped part from the inside. The dome swallowed the ship, never to be seen again.

By sanction of the U.N., no military, civilian, fishing or shipping vessel, or aircraft of any affiliation were permitted in the 60 mile wide restricted zone. Shoot on sight was encouraged. But that did not stop sea creatures circling Ground Zero, even the mighty blue whales singling to it.

So far, from the crash until April, Ground Zero acted the same state, unrelenting in its act. In many ways, it acted just as a terran transformation. Patience passed, and Ground Zero finally settled down.

The area was still under scientific examination and strict restrictive laws, but once the cloud dome dissipated and the waves and riptides turned to calm waters, an island was revealed. Surveillance reports stated the asteroid raised the underwater land 6,000ft as jagged mountains much like the asteroid’s surface in space, then flowed down to a bordering white sand beach. The mountains surrounded the largest Wave Crystal on the planet, towering over 30,000ft, perfectly perpendicular to the planet. Within minutes of being revealed, plants grew along the mountains.

Once people landed on the island for study, they found an intricate tunnel system through the ring mountain, leading toward the center. Nobody found find the remains of the ship still.

ground-zero-doodle

Contested for responsibility and restricted to only military personnel, the island is the stark reminder of earth’s change. Who knows what other secrets the monolith crystal contains.