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Fanfic Coming of Age (Worm /Childhood's End)

Discussion in 'Scribblings' started by PuzzleRaven, May 4, 2021.

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  1. PuzzleRaven

    PuzzleRaven Member

    Coming of Age

    Fortuna has retired to Utopia after the end of the world. No more need to take part in the aftermath of Gold Morning, no way for anyone from Earth Bet to find her, she's got a great retirement: infinite energy, post-scarcity society, no crime, and it is all due to those massive ships in the sky over each city. Nothing to worry about at all...

    (Childhood's End / Worm Crossover)

    Sources:

    Childhood's End by Arthur C Clark
    Worm by Wildbow
     
  2. Threadmarks: Coming of Age 1.1
    PuzzleRaven

    PuzzleRaven Member

    Coming of Age: Part I
    Chapter One

    It was paradise. Fortuna licked her ice cream as she walked down the beach, sand between her toes. Contessa was a vague memory, the nightmare of Gold Morning was behind her, and she was going to sunbathe. After a hard morning of leisurely swimming, and an ice cream brunch, she deserved it.

    Unlimited power and resources were available to every person on the planet, a scant two billion. There was no place here for the tragedies of Earth Bet. Anyone who tried to topple this world would be taken down by the ceaseless surveillance of the ruling class before they could even begin. For the first time in her life since Edenfall, Fortuna felt safe.

    Finishing her cone, she looked out to sea, safe under the shadow of the giant metal disc that hovered over Buenos Aires, one of the many in geostationary orbits over each of this world’s other cities. The giant metal ships in the sky, the unlimited food and power, and the pristine, unburned, world was everything she had hoped for. The ice cream was nice as well.

    She hadn't quite discarded Path to Victory on arrival: Path to Finding Utopia and Path to Fitting In had been needed at first, but now she was settled. She was Fortuna, she was home, and for the first time since she was a child, she was happy.

    It was definitely time for a snack lunch, something she could eat on the beach and not have to worry about sticky fingers. The crepe stand down the beachside where she’d had her unhealthy and delightful breakfast was an immediate and welcome solution, and there was only one person already waiting.

    “Ah, and one for you?” The stallholder greeted her.

    "I'll have a sweet one, please," she asked, automatically reaching for a wallet and then remembering that currency had been abolished the year before. The stallholder laughed.

    "You're not the only one that does that." He was pouring the batter onto the hotplate as he spoke, shaping it with fast arcs of the paddle. Fortuna watched fascinated as the crepe began to brown, wondering if she could learn that. It would be easy to do, but learning how to do it all by herself would be something new.

    "If no one pays, why are you still out here?" she asked.

    "I love it." He smiled, "What else am I going to do?"

    "Well they taste amazing." He winked at her, flipping the crepe in half and half again into its paper cone, passed it to the waiting customer, and poured the next.

    “Any filling?”

    “No, no thanks, just the crepe.” She smiled, stretched in the sunlight as the customer walked off. The stallholder grinned.

    “You here for anything special, or just a holiday?”

    “Seeing the sites, enjoying the sun.”

    “Ah, we get a lot of those, since the Overlords opened up travel.” They both looked up briefly towards the great ship in the sky. “I think of it as the world’s biggest beach umbrella.” Fortuna giggled. She hadn’t known she was going to, and she enjoyed it. It was nice to not know exactly what she had to say, terrifying but nice.

    “How do you get to go up there?” she asked.

    “Be an Overlord.” The stallholder peeled her crepe off, folding it, and passed it over. “Want another?”

    “Yes please.” She nibbled on the edge of hers as he poured the next crepe, still looking at the ship. It would be interesting to be up there, but to take on the responsibility of running a world wasn’t something she envied them. She’d done it once. Never again. “I don’t think I’d like the job.”

    “Well, they travelled halfway across the galaxy to do it,” the stallholder gestured with the ladle to the ranks of holiday makers on the pristine beach, “and I’m not complaining about the results.” Fortuna gasped, a quick intake of breath that surprised her.

    "The Overlords are not human?" she blurted out. The stallholder gave her an odd look.

    "No one knows." he said. The prickling down her spine was uncomfortable, something she did not want to remember.

    "Have you never seen one?"

    "No, no one has." The stallholder was looking at her closely now. "Have you had too much sun?"

    "Possibly. I don't feel very well." She rubbed at her shoulder where the skin was hot and reddening. "Can I have a bottle of water with that?"

    "Yeah," he handed it to her with her second crepe. "You can get refills from the tap. There's a bench in the shade over there."

    "Thanks." She fumbled open the bottle and drank, sitting down in the shade to clear her head. Her thoughts were racing. Aliens were new to her. The only aliens she knew were Zion and the other, and both those things were dead. Fortuna looked at the water bottle, examing the reflection of the ship above as it twisted and distorted. If no one had ever seen the strange aliens, what were they really like? She'd promised herself that she would never use the Path again, but she was curious. What could it hurt to use it for herself for once? The question was easy:

    Path to finding out what the Overseers intend without them knowing.

    Thirty-eight steps. None were particularly arduous, and she could do it in a couple of days. Fortuna shrugged. She finished her crepes first.

    #​

    She had expected research, or contact with the aliens, but the Path took her to the airport and a plane ticket to Finland. In the airport she subscribed to a journalist's course registering as a student. Her identity documents would be ready at the far end. One phone call arranged a taxi from the airport to a bus stop near a quiet suburb. She walked from the bus stop into the area, ten metres, then turn left and half a mile to the the outskirts. Then to the small retirement house with 'R. Stormgren' on the gate.

    Fortuna opened the gate, and knocked as the Path required. The old man who opened the door was still spry despite the cane.

    "Mr. Stormgren, I'm pleased to meet you."

    "And you. What brings a lovely lady like you to an old man's door?" The deprecating humour in his tone took any offence from the words. Fortuna smiled, because the path did not say she could not.

    "I'm Fortuna Milan. I'm doing a journalism course, and I need to get an interview with a public figure. My last one fell through and-" she stammered to a halt and he smiled.

    "I'm surprised you think this old fossil has anything new to say, but company is always welcome." He stepped back, pointing his cane at the lounge. "Take a seat.".

    "So what do you want to talk about?" His English was rusty from disuse, but serviceable enough

    "Your career." She flipped open her notebook one-handed and leaned forward, pen at the ready. "You were the Secretary-General of the United Nations."

    "So I was."

    "And the Overlords?" she shrugged apologetically. "I'm sorry but everyone's going to ask."

    "They've done so much for us," he said, the consumate politician under his age.

    "There were some rumours that you saw one."

    "I didn't."

    "Oh?" she frowned. "There were rumours that during your last meeting, you took a device onto the ship with you specifically to see them?"

    "It failed," he said, regretfully. "I saw nothing."

    "A shame," she said, dismissing the comment as the Path required. "You worked with them for years. What did you think of them?"

    "It is well known, though you might be a little young to have read it. I only spoke to one, Karellen." The name of the Overseer, the ostensible head of the Overlords was known to everyone on Earth. It was the only one of his kind's who was.

    "How did he seem to you? The old man stretched his bad leg out, smiled reminescently.

    "A friend. You know they saved me when I was kidnapped?" She nodded, the next step on her Path. It was why he hadn't needed any of the security she would have expected for a head of state no matter how retired.

    "It is famous. So, back to the question, how would you describe Karellen?"

    "Intelligent." He paused, thinking. "A planner." That description could match anyone in the position of power, but there was only one more step on the Path. She took it.

    "And personally?" She smiled, and he matched her expression.

    "Personally? Friendly." He grinned. "A tolerance, a humorous affection for us little creatures below."

    And in Fortuna's mind, an echo of memory whispered in sheer, numbing, horror:

    Above all, it had looked kind...
     
  3. Threadmarks: Coming of Age 1.2
    PuzzleRaven

    PuzzleRaven Member

    Coming of Age: Part 1
    Chapter 2

    Path to getting necessary information without the Overlords discovering.

    34 steps. Fortuna tried again.

    Path to getting necessary information without the Overlords discovering she knew, or Stormgren being harmed. It was sentimental, but she found she liked the old man, for all he had been used.

    164 steps, a few hours.

    Fortuna let the Path take over. It would tell her when she needed to listen, and gave her time to straighten her whirling mind.

    It wasn't fair. She had already killed one of these things. Then she'd spent her life working for the death of the other. Fortuna was retired, on a beach as she had promised herself, not a puppet to her Paths anymore. It wasn't fair. She couldn't go home. The Tinker device that had brought her here was one way by design, to put her beyond reach of the people she'd used and the people who'd use her again if they could. She wasn't being drawn back into the nightmare, or helping with reconstruction or anything! She was retired, and it wasn't fair!

    Step 22: Pay attention

    "Your kidnapping was well-reported," she said the words as the Path dictated.

    "Ah yes, I was never in any danger."

    "With the Overlords watching, it is shocking it happened at all." Surprise wrote itself honestly on her face, as the Path required. There was a pause, a catch in his breath. Once Stormgren had been a consummate politician, but now he was a retired old man, and the old skills were slipping.

    "Anyone can be caught by surprise." He was looking at the floor, before his eyes flicked back to her. She spoke before he could change the subject.

    "I understand they swapped you from car to car in a tunnel to try to lose the Overlords' surveillance?" She laughed, easing the tension and he joined in.

    "They never stood a chance," he said. "With the tracer Karellen had on me..." he chuckled.

    "...your location did not match the car." She laughed along with him. The Overlords had needed a tracer. They didn't even have tinkertech levels of remote viewing, and the tunnel would have defeated them. It wasn't much to work with, but it was a start. "It lead to the dissolution of the nation states, didn't it?"

    "No," Stormgren said, "but it gets taught that way. Let me put the record straight. The proposal for a one-nation world was already going through. The Overlords had ordered it. Many nations and people objected to the erasing of languages, differences, and culture, so they formed the Freedom League." He sighed. "I had some sympathy with them, but there was a militant wing."

    "And that was what kidnapped you?" Contessa, eager student, was all ears.

    "Yes. The Overlords stepped in to rescue me after four days." There it was, an odd time delay for the rescue and something he was not saying. The tinker specialists she'd known going up against unpowered humans would have retrieved them in hours. Dragon would have done better.

    "That must have taken a lot of courage."

    "Actually I spent the time playing poker. Then the Overlords froze my kidnappers in time and I just followed instructions and walked out." The Overlords didn't use tinkertech so far as she had seen, so they had the technology and devices to do that at any time. They had been waiting for something.

    "Surely this would have made people fear the Overlords more?" she said. "The Freedom League must have had thousands flocking to join them."

    "Actually, the kidnapping of the Secretary General of the United Nations rather destroyed their common support base." Stormgren shrugged it off. "No one wants to think they are a terrorist." She looked down at her pad, checking her shorthand as she scrawled the notes.

    "What happened to the leaders? I can't find any records of a trial."

    "There wasn't one," Stormgren said, frankly. "The Overlords gathered up the leaders of the Freedom Fighters, let it be known they would be under Overlord surveillance for the rest of their lives and released them. With their leadership neutralised it took away any co-ordination from the movement." Contessa's smile didn't change. If the Freedom League had leaders, no cell structure, and official ways to sign up, it seemed more like a genuine political movement than a terrorist threat. Kidnapping the Secretary of the United Nations had been so convenient for the Overlords that she could have believed it a false flag operation, but it seemed just as likely an agent provocateur could have riled the more extreme wing to action, dangling the aliens’ bait before the League in the form of a man who throught he was their friend.

    "One more question, Mr Stormgren?" she said. "Do you think the Overlords truly care about humanity?"

    "I hope that they do..." he said, sadly. "I would have liked to see them face to face, but..." He trailed off into silence.

    "They said fifty years at your last meeting," Contessa said. "Fifty years until they would show what they look like to humanity."

    "And the whole world is counting down to it," Stormgren said. "You and your own children might be there."

    "I hope so. Do you think they will use a broadcast or a projection?" she pressed. "Or that they will actually come to earth?"

    "I hope," he said, wistfully, "I hope that they will come to Earth themselves, and see us face to face. I won't live to see them revealed, but I'd like to think Karellen would put himself level with the people he has been ruling for so long." He paused. "I like to hope that when Karellen comes to earth he will think to visit the grave of an old man who was once a friend. Forgive my sentimentality." The Path required her to ask for one further Path, so she did. The steps were clear, as always. She did not run it. She was not required to, and it would have been needlessly cruel.

    "Of course." She reached out, shook his hand. "Thank you for your time."

    "It was a pleasure, Miss Fortuna." She stood up, and he guided her to the door. "I look forward to reading your article when it is done."

    #​

    Fortuna got on the bus, travelling far enough away from the house to transfer to a taxi directly to the airport. On the way she composed her article, submitting it to the correspondence course on paper as the next step on her Path. The Path required completing the course to remove herself from a watchlist which took several steps over the following three months. She had plenty of time to plan around it. The hardest part would be living long enough to defeat the Overlords. Aliens that could plan fifty years ahead or more would be difficult to fight. If warned, they could retreat to high orbit beyond her Path's ability to reach.

    In the airport, Fortuna stepped into the disabled toilet, closed the door and prayed. She mourned the loss of her retirement and grieved the horrors she had yet to create. Her fists clenched in front of her, mouth moving soundlessly. It was unfair. She had killed an entity, arranged the death of the other. Humanity was supposed to be safe. She had given her life, turned herself into a monster for that cause. Yet somehow, here, on a reality that neither of the Entities were meant to be able to affect, there was another one lurking?

    Defeating the last one had cost entire Earths, trillions of people, but if they hadn't the cost would have been all Earths and all humanity. Thousands had died finding a way to fight it, millions had died in the attempt, billions had simply been murdered by the creature. She had given her soul, devoted her entire life to preventing the omnicide as a slave to her Paths. Now Fortuna had to pay that cost again, or the first time had been for nothing. She could do no less. She prayed for all the lives that would be taken, the things she would have to do, and eventually in the silence, she simply prayed.

    The first step on the Path was reached. Fortuna stopped crying immediately, but it was Contessa who wiped her face clean and tidied her appearance. There was still an hour before the plane, but there was one more task to complete before she left.

    Before she went to the boarding gate, Contessa purchased a fedora.
     
  4. Threadmarks: Coming of Age 1.3
    PuzzleRaven

    PuzzleRaven Member

    Chapter Three

    So many years after the Overlords’ arrival, the headlines were pale and anodine compared to those before. With crime nearly non-existant, discoveries slowing, and few actual needs left on the planet there was little to report on. Perfect paternity testing and contraception for all resulted in a loosening of social mores that co-incidentally removed most of the scandals that would otherwise have filled them, leaving the newspapers grateful for any copy they received.

    Rikki Stormgren’s funeral was front page news. He did not live to see the Overlords revealed, as he had known he would not. If life extension technology existed, it had not been developed far enough, the Overlords content for humanity to make do with the removal of hunger and disease. There was a brief flurry of interest in his life, rumours of a certain device, but his recorded denials he had seen anything quelled the kerfuffle. The last interview he had ever given, years before to a journalism student, confirmed it.

    The funeral was attended by hundreds, hundreds of thousands, who had never met him, never been born when he had represented humanity to their new Overlords. The administrator in charge of Europe, appointed by the Overlords when they dissolved the UN, was in attendence. The Overlord ship hanging in the sky above sent no signal or sign.

    Once it was over, like all such five minute wonders, humanity turned its attention to the next diversion.

    #​

    “Immersive hyper-realistic entertainment,” Tian said, nearly knocking the canape plate over his companion as it hovered passed. The blonde starlet, one of the many at Sunil’s party, was half-drunk and exotically English. If they hit it off, they could have a great night together. The rest of the entertainment had been standard for these top-class events, live singers, actors, and some pretty good effects. To his professional eye it was nothing special, but nothing ever was now the Overlords had arrived.

    “Isn’t everyone doing that now?” The blonde’s head went back, and she looked boredly at the ceiling.

    “I know.” Tian gestured with his own glass, and the auto-refill topped it up. Somehow all their advances had made art as stifled as science. Real progress was slowing, and he couldn’t remember the last time he’d seen something actually new. “But where else is there to go?”

    “Virtual environments!” she chirped, happily braindead.

    “Been done,” he scoffed. They were good for meetings, but the lack of tangible substance irritated him. “And the Overlords do it better anyway.“

    “Nonono, hear me out,” She slurred her words slightly, leaning forward. “These three guys, like, they jumped on stage during the play.”

    “They wanted to be part of the performance. It happens.” And it was annoying as hell. Spend all those hours making everything just right and someone closes up on it and starts knocking the scenery over. Phillistines.

    “So what if its a holographic play?” she said, and Tian thought about it.

    “Fully three dimensional so you could get right up to the action? View the scene from any angle?” He patted her hand and waved her glass for the auto-refill to go off. “It doesn’t look realistic. The audience can put their hands through the images.”

    “So make the audience, like, invisible or sommin’” she bleared, and on a side thought, he refilled his own glass. Tonight was going to be a fun night, but this was a pretty unusual idea.

    “So track the audience’s movements in the virtual world and
    erase them...” A shared virtual world where the audience were invisible, could all interact the recording of a live performance from any angle. It would be difficult but possible. “They’d walk into each other.”

    “How’d you get round tha’?” she frowned, waving her magically empty glass again. Tian found himself thinking it through.

    “Some form of proximity warning? A way to let them be in our out of the simulation without stopping it for others in the same space....” He wasn’t paying much attention to her any more and she popped her head down on the table, completely gone. “...It would have to stop them seeing or hearing each other, smell? Poor cleanliness of an audience member or could I use chemicals for added...”

    Tian pushed the plates aside, reaching for his recpadd but it was in his luggage. So he used the next best thing.

    Two hours later he apologised to his host, who saw what he’d been working on and pulled out his own design board. Eventually he went up to his room, the scrawled-on tablecloth bundled up under his arm and his head full of ideas for a brand new approach to art.

    He’d quite forgotten about the blonde.

    #​

    Owen Keel stood on the edge of the bridge, staring down at the black waters far below. There was nothing left. The last of the funding for his projects had been removed. There was no point, they said, in investing in space flight. Jenrick, his boss, had sat back complacently when Keel had protested. There was no point in working on spaceflight, Jenrick had said, because when humanity is ready for the stars the Overlords will tell us. Hell, he’d laughed round his cigar, they’ll probably give us the ships! Keel had said nothing.

    He looked to the sky. The city was ten miles away, yet curve of the great ship the hung over it eclipsed the sky, leaving a black void where the stars cut out. It was fitting, he thought bitterly. His work was over and if, after all these years, the Overlords had shown no signs of rescinding their ban on space travel for humanity, so was his life.

    Science was falling apart, peer review happening less and less as the great institutions became replaced by a collection of amateurs. Humanity had more resources and more time than ever before, and yet it seemed to be producing less and less, progressing less and less. Keel’s own work moldered in a library somewhere, with the rest of the lab’s, and he knew better than to think any of the many seperated individuals the scientific community was becoming would pick it up. Why study something where progress could be theory alone, the only subject certain to irritate their benevolent Overlords?

    He looked up once more at the stars, eager, envious and longing. One day, he swore to them silently, one day a man will reach the stars. Keel was still looking up when he jumped. He never felt himself hit the water.

    #​

    It was not a golden age, not yet, but the gilt was on the rose. Humanity might be barred from the stars, but the ocean depths and highest mountains were there to explore and map. The loss of the Ocean Challenger and its fifty person crew, two days into its mission to the Mariana Trench, lead to explorers scurrying back to the drawing board to design new vehicles for the automated factories to churn out, and then to a second, successful, mission. Air cars let people fly above Everest on their daily commute. Inevitably each inch of the earth’s surface was conquered and mapped. The first view of their Overlords was only a year or so away, and they need merely wait.

    The collapse of a small volcanic island in the South Pacific was little more than a footnote. The fact it had once been the site of humanity’s plans for the stars was the only reason it was even that. Humanity had other dreams now, of comfort, and luxury, and few turned their eyes to the stars for anything more than a moment. The stars had come to them, and brought utopia. What more could they need?
     
  5. porridge

    porridge Member

    Ach, brings a tear t'me eye. Were one o'me fave books. Ye canna leave it there.
     
  6. atry

    atry Active Member

    I hated this book growing up.
     
  7. jessica

    jessica Citizen of Logres

    ::lols::And, suddenly, you discover why fixfic exists.::love::::thumbsupbook::
     
  8. atry

    atry Active Member

    I know what fix fic is, I just never thought anyone would fixfic this. Watching!
     
  9. Threadmarks: Coming of Age 1.4
    PuzzleRaven

    PuzzleRaven Member

    Coming of Age Part 1
    Chapter 4


    It was the day the entire world had waited for, though it would not have been a world recogniseable to those of the Earth the ships had arrived over all those years before. Everyone spoke English, literacy was universal, and the divides between countries had fallen under one world government. With infinite clean energy, plentiful food, and near universal automation, the consensus was that the Overlords were benefactors. Where the rare voice still named them tyrants, it would also concede that they seemed to be benevolent ones.

    The air cars were pushed back, the airspace cleared so that nothing would obstruct the view. The overlarge video cameras were set up round the field’s edge, the crowd kept to a safe distance by cordons. What a crowd it was. Fifty years of waiting and finally humanity was to meet their Overlords. Naturally, all of humanity wanted to be there for it.

    One one ship now remained: the day before the others had vanished. ‘Projections’, screamed the headlines, ‘teleportation’ said certain whispers in the back rooms which despite fifty years of control the Overlords had not yet quieted.

    It was not a shuttle that descended. For the first time since its arrival the great ship moved in the sky, lowering itself with grace foreign to something so large. It dropped easily, coming to land without denting the grass, an unknown form of antigravity sparing the ground its weight.

    A dark rectangle opened in the side, a steep ramp descending, too steep to climb. The eyes of the world were locked on the grey metallic strip as it lowered, hovering in the air in that strange, familiar, way before touching down upon the grass.

    The crowd stirred as the message went round: the Overlords wanted two children. Without fear, two ducked under the rope and were ushered forward, a boy and a girl. The others behind them were turned back as the lucky pair ran up. They jumped on the ramp and were drawn upwards, at a right angle to the slope, nearly parallel with the ground before they vanished inside the ship. Neither seemed nervous, though their parents most assured were. For a time nothing happened.

    Finally, slowly, a new shape appeared in the rectangle. What was within set one clawed foot upon the ramp, as the world drew back. The action of the ramp descended it to the grass, and for the first time in human memory an Overlord stood upon the world they ruled. On its shoulders, the children sat happily, the boy playing with the fold of one ebon wing.

    They had ruled for fifty years. They had nearly conquered huger and inequality. They had improved humanity’s lot across the globe to a standard never before seen, and yet among the waiting crowd there was not a single one whose breath did not catch, who did not feel the chill in the bright day.

    And upon the grass, the ten foot high figure, the armoured form of humanity’s legendary adversary, lowered its horned head and smiled as two children played uncaring with its wings.

    #​

    Oddly unchanged by the years, Contessa watched with the crowd, close enough to see and hidden enough to now be seen. Her chill had little to do with superstition. If one had come as a golden god, it was no surprise the other should choose a form out of myth. The face of the enemy was now known and battle, if it could be such against such an overwhelming force, was joined.

    The ramp that amazed the crowds was a basic enough gravity redirector, non-Tinkertech and replicatable. The laser bridge to Brockton Bay's rig had been more advanced, but if the Overlords had that technology they were saving it to impress a more knowledgeable audience. Karellen spoke, a pleasant, resonant, sound because of course it would be, to contrast the form it had chosen. The greeting was simple enough, nothing critical that her current Path require she focus on.

    Instead she observed the ship as needed, its door open, feeling the Steps ahead change as they had since the shuttle entered the atmosphere. Path to Victory was recalculating, applying the knowledge gained to its simulations. Nothing on the ship was tinker-tech, nothing required another agent to build, and that left the Overlords' technology available in the great library of skills that her agent offered. If the Paths could simulate one of them building it, perhaps under circumstances that restricted the Overlord to Earth's resources, then the Path could find a way for her to build it if those resources were ever to be available. She needed all the weapons she had.

    Ten years before she had asked a single question: Path to making Stormgren realise what the Overlords really meant for humanity. That path had had ten steps, ending in six words. She had not followed it. It intersected with no other paths, provided no end benefits, and it would have been cruelty for its own sake to tell the old man:

    Karellen would never visit his grave.

    In the crowd, Contessa asked herself a silent question and the answer came immediately: five hundred and fifteen steps over three months to make the Overlord do so. Otherwise he never would. Contessa would never follow that path simply because there was nothing to be gained from it. Stormgren's greatest service to humanity was nothing done as Secretary General, nor his words in the interview with her. It was the lesson he, now years dead, had taught her without ever knowing. She could path the Overlords.

    Five steps to confirm.

    She stepped to one side, picked up a sweet wrapper from the ground and threw it at the required angle. Her arm moved exactly in the precise motions. Her head turned as she followed the next step: look at the Overseer. Unnoticed, the foil bounced on the edge on the bin, unfolding as a breeze caught it, lifting it upwards as the camera flashes went off. Karellen raised a hand to shield his face as the unexpected reflection caught his eyes, a gesture that humanised him to the watchers and meant something entirely different to Contessa.

    Contessa turned and walked away, leaving the press conference to mob the alien with the two children now playing at its feet. Her war on Utopia had begun.
     
  10. Threadmarks: Coming of Age 1.5 Interlude
    PuzzleRaven

    PuzzleRaven Member

    Coming of Age Interlude:
    The Caldera

    Keel opened his eyes to warm yellow light. The ceiling above him was rocky, the drywall beside him yellowed with age. He was lying on a bed, clean if less comfortable than the conforming mattress he was used to. Rolling over he got to his feet, examining himself for injuries. He was unharmed. Even his clothes were pristine, save for a small silver badge attached to it.

    Curiously he put his hand up to the badge, feeling a button under his fingers, and clicked it. Blackness engulfed him, overwhelming, complete, terrifying. He clicked it again. The small room with its single bed. The emperical test to see what was real was logical. He placed his hand flat on the wall, and with the other clicked the badge again. The disorientating darkness returned, a stale heat, and thick air, and a faint red glow he could make out as his eyes adjusted. And under his hand, the flat resisting surface of cheap drywall. He clicked the badge again and the office came back.

    A hologram. The Overlords had such power, but one suicidal rocket scientist would be of no interest to them. Cautiously he opened the door, looking into the long dusty white corridor. The sign on the wall read ‘Taratua’.

    It was one of the old rocket bases, abandoned yet there was no dust. The technology here had not been touched in nearly fifty years, but it was pristine. He had seen things like it on the television, a kitchen, an obsolete and primitive computer. What he did not see was any of the Overlord’s technology. There were no auto-cooks, no self-cleaners, and no air cars.

    At the end of the corridor, he opened the heavy door and found himself staring into a void. His eyes adjusted slowly to the dull light, metal glinted in the distance, the great rails that had once held mankind’s hope for the moon. They still did, the lines of the immense shape in the dark making sudden sense as the scale of the place came together for him. The lights on the far side were lost, over a mile away, dwarfed by the sheer size of the extinct volcanic chimney they dotted the sides of.

    He could not see the roof of the great caldera. It was sealed from the sky, a high rocky roof covering it as far as he could see. The earthquake that had destroyed the abandoned base had barely made an inch in the news for page seventeen. None of this should be here.

    “Hello?” Keel called, expecting an echo, but there was none. No one answered either. He walked along the gantry to the scaffold mounted cabin at the end, trying to find some one who could give him answers. The small room was an office, brightly lit. Through the window he could see an envelope lying on the desk, placed exactly where he would see it. The angle was slightly off for the desk, as if someone had known exactly what angle he would look at it from. His name was written on it.

    Wanting answers, he opened the door, picking up the small white envelope placed in the center of the desk. There was a small bottle of water and a wrapped sandwich on the desk, but his curiosity drowned out his rumbling stomach. He opened the envelope, unfolding the letter within it. The first line he read, in a tidy calligraphy hand, nearly made him drop it.

    “You cannot defeat the Overlords. You must have science ready for when I do.”
     
  11. PuzzleRaven

    PuzzleRaven Member

    @Bookangel I've put these in the wrong order. Help?
     
  12. Bookangel

    Bookangel Administrator Staff Member

    I have swapped the two posts over and corrected the threadmarks.
     
  13. Tregaron

    Tregaron Active Member

    This thread is now watched. Please update soon.
     
  14. skye

    skye Member

    Any updates coming soon?
     
  15. sliara

    sliara Member

    This story seems interesting, if I have free time I would definitely read the entire book.
     
  16. CatInASuit

    CatInASuit Administrator Staff Member

    As this is a FanFic, there isn't a book to read, although I am looking forward to the next installments.

    However, if you are looking for one of the pieces, have a look for Childhood's End by Arthur C. Clarke
     
  17. PuzzleRaven

    PuzzleRaven Member

    Thanks to the ongoing not-so-superflu, I've got no income now, so I'm focusing on things that make money. Fanworks come behind food.
     
  18. porridge

    porridge Member

    Ye takin' comissions?
     
  19. PuzzleRaven

    PuzzleRaven Member

    That's a big legal grey blotch. Like I said, Paypal discloses real names and addresses, and I don't want mine on my fanworks.
     
  20. RA Books

    RA Books Our lovely IT Gurus

    We handle Paypal for all our authors for exactly that reason. If you indicate it is purely for art and original fiction, we could handle yours the same way. Think about it and let us know.
     
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