• 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?

  • Coming out of the Binge

    Right now I moved from watching Stranger Things three times to almost finishing the first season of Supergirl.

    Honestly I attempted to write my review of Stranger Things and piece my own theories for Season Two, but it didn’t work out. I was injecting my thoughts to explain the supernatural elements that would muddle what is already good about it.

    In short: watch Stranger Things. Get the free trial and binge watch it for six hours. I can’t wait to know what happened with the Upside Down next year. Please let it be a imagination fabrication!

    In a twist, this show got me playing Dungeons and Dragons every Saturday afternoon via Roll20. I never played it. No, wait, scratch that. Last year I did attend a D&D demo at SDCC for half an hour and enjoyed it. Back then I did get the starter set, but even the rules of creating a character got confusing without outside help. Even YouTube videos didn’t help. And I didn’t know anybody in my home town that played it.

    This group I’m with is with other small writers and geeks. I may not be a good rollplayer or not sure if my spells are ready for the next round, but I know what it means to have a half elf Wild Magic Sorcerer (I named mine Randal) lose control after dishing out Magic Missile and vaporizing a spike demon.

    More What Do We Know pieces will be showing up this Saturday. The next one took a while to compile just with the scale of things to cover. Headache inducing really. You’ll like it for you Mana Pool lovers. As far as Ghost Factor is concerned, it’s coming. There is a plan to share it better than before so bear with me.

    Back to the writing board I go!

  • These Eyes Seen Things

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    See these glasses? They were on my face for five years, give or take. What surprised me when I got them, or even found them at the hospital’s optometry department, was that they were made by Converse. The very same company that makes those Converse All-Star shoes. Who da thunk it? I can’t remember what was the model name; it has something to do with Reverse or Rebel or something with the letter R. I think I got them around my ITT Tech years. Yeah, that sounds about right. But why am I blogging about my glasses?

    From 2009 until yesterday, I wore those frames. I changed the lenses twice on new prescriptions, and I never once thought about switching to a different brand. I just didn’t have the mindset to do it for obvious reasons. Both pairs had Transitions coatings, meaning that they change to sunglasses when outside. I loved them. They were me.

    But if you think about it, all those years wearing them, they seen some horrid moments in my life.

    Family loss. Personal embarrassment. The birth of two novels. Tired nights of writing. An uncharted amount of computer screen viewing. Five comic book conventions. So many tears shed.

    So much history in one set. Hypothetically if I handed them to a psychic, he or she would break down in tears from the transferred memories and visions.

    Right now, the lenses are so scratched up and the Transitions coating is delaminating. Up close there’s enough scratches that match a beach filled with footprints before sunset. You’d be surprised how hard I had to look past them while driving. Perhaps that’s what happens during years of mental torment—you forget to take care of yourself.

    So I finally got the eye exam I desperately needed—no eye issues thank goodness—and decided to buy from a startup called Warby Parker. They look reminiscent of my old pair, but with some color if looked up close.

    Hopefully this time they will see good things rather than the bad.

  • 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?