A Scene from the Unityverse

“Wait, the federal judiciary has it’s own military?”
“Kind of, yes. Legally, the marshals are restricted to enforcing the decisions of the courts, and the only reason they’re so heavily armed is due to the possibility of an armed force – whether independent or planetary – could be a litigant in a legal dispute. As for the possibility of the courts overstepping their bounds, well, all law depends on people…and most of Orion’s military power rests with the worlds.”

Drabble: Results of the Referendum

“Look, we have two options. The first is to be oligarchs, ignore the referendum, and name the ship whatever the it is we want. This will spare us embarrassment, for a while, but eventually, the commoners will elect somebody dangerous. Somebody we can’t tame, who’s willing to overthrow the entire system, and put us in front of the firing squads. And most of them won’t even like the guy. They’d just vote for him as a joke, thinking that we wouldn’t let them hurt themselves, just like every other time we stepped in when they did something stupid.

“Or we can be democrats. This will mean that our fates are controlled by the rabble out there, (although to be fair, they already are), but they’ll also care about us. If we let them have power, they’ll actually think about what we’re arguing about, about why we keep screaming at each other. And no, I don’t think they’re ready for that level of responsibility. But we can teach, slowly, that their actions have consequences, they will be. Maybe in a year, maybe in a generation, but they will be. And that starts with biting the bullet, and naming the world’s first starship the Enormous Genitalia.”

We Struggle Not Against Circuitry and Steel

“So, you’re just going to leave it?” asked the archimandrite. “You’re just going to let them keep worshiping a machine?”

The episcope shrugged. “I know it’s against the Ecclesia’s usual mission, but at the moment, our government is currently in a precarious position right now. We need to give the populus time to get used to how we do thing, lest they turn themselves over to…other powers.”

The archimandrite only hummed in response, letting the fans in his head cool his thoughts.

The episcope, growing weary of the silence, spoke, “I thought you would have been happy with the Oracle. You certainly don’t seem to complain about the precision of your limbs-“

The archimandrite reared up on his great metal tail, his six mechanical arms spread wide as he loomed over the episcope. “Do not dare to compare the two! We make our bodies into machines, so that machines will forever be controlled by our minds. This Oracle, in the reverse, is a machines that enslaves the minds of others.”

The archimandrite came back down, letting the episcope tremble as the cyborg slid off. “Although I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. The Ecclesia is always trying to replace human judgement with rule and regulation.”

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Blackout

When I woke up, I was floating in the air. I didn’t recognize the room I was in, even when I figured out which way the ceiling was. I seemed to have levitated out of the bed I was over, as if the gravity had shut off while I was asleep. The room was undecorated, and gave of the feeling of somewhere someone would only spend the night in, and even then, reluctantly.

There was a screen on the side of the room, so I went over and booted it up. I navigated my way through the OS, trying to find something that could tell me where I was and what I was doing there. I ran into a few dead ends, either not what I was looking for or something that was asking for a password I didn’t have. Finally, I found something that told me where I was, even if was only in relation to thing a few thousand kilometers from me.

I was in an escape pod that belonged to a vessel called the Ymir. The ship, however, was still intact, and I was, in fact, in orbit around it. The Ymir, in turn, was in orbit around a solid chunk of matter, almost spherical under its own gravity, and well over 5,000 kilometers across.

Wait, no, scratch that. The ship was bigger than the planet, so it was more like the rock was in orbit around the ship.

Shocked, I counted up the facts I knew about my predicament:

  1. I woke up somewhere, with absolutely no recollection of going to sleep there.
  2. That somewhere was an escape pod, floating in space.
  3. Despite this, the pod’s ship was in tact, and the pod was still following it.
  4. That ship, the Ymir, was impossibly large, large enough to pull a planet around.

From these four facts, I came to one, inescapable conclusion: I really needed to cut back on the partying.


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Viridity, Part 12: Good Luck

“So, yeah, it looks like there’s going to be a huge battle in the courts, but Intelligence going to go down.”

Shanna let out a small “Ah,” as she looked out the window. The forest was starting to wither with out the viridity to sustain it.

Wallace raised an eyebrow. “You almost sound sorry for the people that tried to kill you.”

Shanna shifted herself, turning toward the guardian. “I can’t say they were wrong. I’ve put a lot of people in danger here. I’ve done it before, and I’m going to do it again. Doesn’t stopping me seem at least a little justified then?”

“After everything they did? No.”

The two of them looked at each other, their disagreement unspoken. Then Wallace stepped up to her, an patted her arm. “Look, I know you have misgivings about bringing viridity back to the world, but just…do what you have to do, and I’ll do what I need to do.”

Wallace turned and walked away. Quietly, the seer said “Good luck.”


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Viridity, Part 11: Within Green Fire

Brambles grew out of the woman’s wound, as the viridian flames got throught the bullet hole in her suit. Shoving the image aside, Shanna turned towards the center of the fire, even she heard Wallace screaming at one of the men from outside. She swam towards the brass orb, hoping that is wasn’t too late to stop the outflow of viridity. But the flow of the energy was too strong, and as Shanna reached out for the device, she was pulled away, her hope escaping her grasp.

“Why?”

She called out to viridity, even as its flows threw her around.

“Is this what you want?”

She tried to pull herself closer to the orb, even as the currents started to eat away at her suit.

“Do you want to hurt them? For them to fear you?”

The second layer, still shielding her from the flames, was visible now. Soon, that, too, would be eaten away.

“Or are you trying to let me bring you back to humanity?”

The mesh underlay burned and teared, leaving little but a thin layer of synthetic material between the viridian flames and Shanna’s skin.

“Tell me!”

She made one last lunge for the metal ball. Somehow, the flow of the fire shifted at that moment, and Shanna reached it easily. Quickly, she entered the commands, and the orb drove itself into the center of the fire, shoving it’s spikes into the soil beneath. Shanna laid on the ground, exhausted, and the fire was extinguished.


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Viridity, Part 10: Error

They stood at the edge of the crater where the viridian reactor used to be. Emerald wisps of fire were strewn about the depression, and also on the great tree in the center of the new forest. Wherever the green fire burned, new life sprang up; wood, leaves, and fruit were formed in a process like a reverse burning.

“This is it, isn’t it?” asked one of the newcomers. “What do we do now?”

“Take care that nothing interrupts me, please,” said Shanna, placing the spherical package on the ground. “And try not to get killed yourself.”

She unzipped the bag revealing a device made of yellow ocher metal. She opened a panel on it, and started to fiddle with things. Two of the strangers looked out over the edge of the crater, while the third, a woman, watched the flames. Wallace stood near Shanna, guarding her, while Aber watched the woman watching the flames.

It was always the flames that set them off, after all. At the first sign that Shanna was making things worse, like flash of flame, or in this case, its guttering, somebody’s paranoia went off. Aber called out to Wallace, even as he took aim and fired a shot at the woman. Between the shock of the hit and Wallace shoving Shanna out of the way, the woman missed. But in the commotion, the half configured sphere was also knocked aside. Sharp needles jutting out from its side managed to puncture the great, flaming tree.

“No,” said Shanna. “Nononononono.”

And then the world was green fire.


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Viridity, Part 9: Meeting

“Wallace, what is it?”

The uniformed man aimed his gun at a shift in the foliage. “Woah, easy there, chief.”

Into the dim light stepped another man, shorter than Wallace, and wearing the same uniform. Behind him, were several more people, all wearing the same clothes as the first.

“You are more allies, I take it?” asked Shanna.

“Seems that way,” said the stranger. “And from the looks of things, you could use some more people.”

“Could be,” she said. She turned to Aber and Wallace. “What do you think?”

The older man looked at the younger, who eventually gave a nod. As Shanna directed the newcomers forward, Aber stepped up to Wallace.

“So, what’s do you think of them?”

“They aren’t moving the way I was taught,” said the enforcer. “Watch them.”

Viridity, Part 8: Battle

Shanna’s blade of green energy cut through the thornman’s wooden neck, releasing green mist across her mask. Though the filter’s let her breath in uncontaminated air, the fog on the lenses distracted her for a moment. This meant that she barely had enough time to drive the hilt of her weapon into the torso of another monster throwing itself at her, and could barely see as she cut into its chest, releasing another blast of gas from its lifeless remains.

She felt a change in the air as a shadow fell over her. She tried to turn, but she could already tell than she wasn’t going to have enough time to keep the new thornman from landing on her, only the agonizing adrenaline-fueled slowness of trying to turn. She heard a pop of a gun firing, muffled as it was by her mask, and puff of green mist escaping from the head of the corpse that was now landing on her.

Even as Shanna threw the body off of her, the familiar footsteps came up to her, cracking of shot after shot into the charging horde. She stood up and stood back to back with her ally, protecting him even as he protected her. Between bullet and blade, only exhaustion could bring them down, and even that stopped being a concern once the warriors from the settlement arrived to aid them.

“Aber,” said Shanna, “do you have it?”

“Yeah, I have your thing,” said Aber. “Now let’s go clean up your mess.”


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