Banner by Chibisuke Chan
For the second installment of our newest feature:The GM interview, we have interviewed HeySeuss who is well known around the site and the GM of various RP's including Far Colony and Mutually Assured Destruction. He was gracious enough to take the time to answer these questions to give us all further insight into the art of GMing. We are actively looking for GM's to interview so if you know of one you'd love to see interviewed please PM their name to Lillian Thorne
What inspired you to GM in the first place?
I had a very clear idea of how I wanted some plots to go in my head, it was as
simple as that.
What do you feel is your most successful RP?
I'm not entirely sure at this point, but at the time I was running my RP Far Colony the first time, I had a very heady feeling about it, I was enjoying the complexity of the plot that I had figured out.
What do you see as the reason(s) for its success?
It was the first time I'd really mapped out the general plot and the way things were going to proceed -- not so much a restriction on the players so much as having a clear sense of the overall direction of things.
How thoroughly do you plot your RP, do you plan for an end?
I plot major events, but I try to avoid getting too detailed. I also give people a sense of the direction so they can write toward that.
How much freedom to affect the plot do you allow your players?
As much as they want. If someone has a good idea, I'll vary things to accommodate that idea.
How have you handled the inevitable dropouts?
Worst case scenario, from too many dropouts, I restart the RP at a future date. Before that, I start to work up NPC's to handle the situation or figure out a way to run a character -- in one RP, where a vital character dropped suddenly, I decided to have her be a sociopathic 'by e-mail' manager, since it's a science fiction RP and anyone that's ever worked in the corporate world knows about e-mail obsessed managers that forward everything without editing. I just take that real life example and turned this person's character into that. The other thing I do is put out calls for replacement characters, if the RP can plausibly allow it.
What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn from it?
Trying to keep a secret -- you can keep plot twists to yourself if you let people know that you're doing that, but otherwise, answer questions and give people a sense of where the future is headed so they know which direction the characters should go and which way the plot is headed.
Do you take a hands on or hands off approach to GMing? for example: do you have GM-PC's or just NPC's
I experiment around with this, but I usually play PC's and NPC's. Sometimes I do not, however. I vary in how I get involved depending on the RP, but I usually pitch in with a character somewhere.
What would be the best bit of advice you would give a new GM about how to run a successful RP?
Flexibility, RP'ers are going to take the plot in directions you don't expect or want to do things. Communication too -- give them a sense of direction where things are going.
Title: Falling Stars Wolf Pack
Well I started as a remake of an RP that never made past the fifth post on the IC so I asked everyone if they wanted me to remake it and they said go ahead and so I did. The RP has since then had over 70 posts in the OOC and over a 100 in the IC so I would also like thank Sasaw for starting it but not continuing it. At this time the pack consist of 20 wolves. I personally have a mate and pup (both belong to manncowmoo). The RP started with us howling to the full moon. We have introduced 2 that started as outsiders and about to introduce to more and a pup named Hact. I have someone request me to make a “wolf pack arena game in honor of this RP” where there will be an opposing “Rising Moon” wolf pack. We are also still accepting CS. My hopes for the RP personally are to travel around all of the packs territory a few times considering I had planned to make it quiet large. The setting will change often do to the traveling thus bringing up new difficulties for the pack. In aspiring to become a long lasting RP I also hope that everyone who joins enjoys themselves and has fun posting. At the moment we plan to skip to daytime after the 3 new characters join. So far this RP has fulfilled all the expectations I had.
Title: Dragon Rising
There are many who have loved dragons all their life, me being one of them, but dragons are a hard thing to work into a table top rpg. Using the versatility of Play-by-post, I am attempting to make a game where you can Be that dragon you’ve wanted to be.
Stolen from your nest as an egg, this story should take you from Hatchling to Great Wyrm, including: finding a lair, collecting treasure, making a name for yourself, and collecting followers. Anything you think a great dragon should do.
I am using mostly Dungeons and Dragon’s concepts for what a dragon is, but not completely. You can be any color, have any breath weapon, and I’m using a “Feat” based leveling system to determine your abilities as you both level, and age.
So far, my hatchlings have overcome impossible odds and freed themselves of their would-be captures. Now they have the whole world laid out before them. Will they stay together? Will they split off to seek fame and fortune on their own? Will they be eaten by the next big fish to come along? Only they know, and you can find out.
Title: Star Wars - The New Order
It is hundreds of years after Luke’s Academy and the Republic has deemed force users a menace and outlawed all uses of the Force, this new Republic is a massive collection of planetary and military might, unseen before... the Sith have been hunted and destroyed by this new Collective Republic and the Jedi had retreated to the last place they will be looked for... Korriban.
A new force has arisen, a group known as the Acolytes, obsessed with Sith teachings they trained and found the Jedi and now hunt them, weak in the force but high in number they swarm like killer bees, The acolytes number in the hundreds on Korriban alone but cells have been popping up all over the Galaxy.
The RP is a tabletop, dice rolling game using online dice from www.roleplaylegends.com (In case others wish to use them) and we have a number of surviving Padawan looking to become Masters. So far in the RP the players have escaped an Acolyte onslaught and are now fighting a war on Korriban, whilst a few others are in a Republic prison trying to escape and free other Jedi held captive there… Although a Dark force approaches about to change the Galaxy forever…
Featured Interest Checks
Title: Modern Day Dragons
Its December in 2012 (the supposed end of the world) everyone was expecting the world to end sometime that month, little did they know that it wasn't gonna be meteors or floods, It was dragons. These werent ordinary dragons, they seemed much more evolved than medievil dragons and they could talk, not english but a language created by the dragons themselves, Instead of destroying the planet they used it for themselves, making humans slaves and anybody who didn't do what they said was eaten there and then. They also had a dragon lord name sylivrak who had a white shining hide and was a master of flight and battle, nobody had the guts to even look at him.
Scientist began to make weapons against them secretly, some were killed as soon as they tried to do this and some of them survived for quite a while. One scientist however made an elite squad of 4, each with a tech suit designed for one thing, one suit for stealth, one for strength, one for speed and one for accuracy. This wasn't the only thing the suits had at their advantage, they could also transform into a dragon with the quality of their suit, stealth, strength, etc. They trained in a lab for months on end and now they are ready, to face the dragons.
In this rp you can be one of the dragons or one of the elite squad, there will only be four dragons and 4 people in the elite squad
GM: Dorian Gregory
If you are clicking on this interest check you may already be familiar with the main concept I am going to be presenting to you. This is the resulting environmental and chronological setting of a poll that I had created earlier in the week to get a slight grasp of what some of you may be most interested in. I am not an expert on Feudal Japan geologically or historical so you will have to bear with me on some of the finer points. However, I am doing my best to provide a somewhat accurate depiction of the environmental setting to provide an adequate chronological feeling. [/COLOR]
Aokigahara or the Sea of Trees
Located at the base of Mount Fuji, the forest contains an innumerable amount of hidden caverns and giant trees. It is known to be very dark and has thick growth so the only light that can be seen inside the forest is a collection of sunbeams. Aokigahara holds an absence of wildlife and is known for being an eerily quiet place. Within this forest, the custom of “ubasute” was widely practiced; a custom of leaving an elderly relative is left to die in a remote location.
In the recent years citizens of the Shinano, Suruda, and Totomi Prefectures have gone missing. Very little is known about these missing people. Their occupations have fluctuated from blacksmiths and geisha to drunkards and samurai. In fact, the only piece of commonality between these missing people is that they had all been seen near Aokigahara, the Sea of Trees at the base of Mount Fuji. However, it was not until the latest report that the attentions of the three local lords were drawn. A young Shinano boy, the child of the lord had gone missing. After a argumentative conversation and in order to prove that neither the Suruda or Totomi Prefectures were not involved, they had agreed to help the Shinano Lord in finding his son.
As participants, players will be asked to create characters who have willingly volunteered to participate in this adventure of sorts. While I expect a number of Samurai participants, this is not required. Players can carry occupations and histories of any sort and provide any reason whether internal or external as to why their characters have decided to participate.
Finally, I have not yet decided whether or not this should be ranked as a Casual, High Casual, or Advanced level of role playing thread. So please make your opinion be known once again vote on that aspect in the poll above. I encourage you folks to provide any comments, concerns, or questions that you may have regarding the role play or things you would like to see in the role play. If this garners enough attention I will make sure the OOC thread is up this evening at some point in time.
GM: Deja Vu
1. to damage; ruin.
2. broken beyond all repair; impaired.
The land is rife with war and deceit. The crown has been usurped, a time of bloody regents is upon us once more.
The King lay dead, the Queen is missing, and the Prince at the mercy of fickle men and sharp blades.
And yet the war is in full swing. The flag of Daggergrove flies above the royal city, and to soon fall in force onto the walls of the west.
The tide seems unstoppable, and yet blood is shed for the cause, King Booral's flag still true across the realm.
But our story lies not on what men fight over, but for.
You see, a caravan of merchants, having hired sellswords to guard them, are attempting to make it to the great citadel of Skio.
It's safety has been drawing the masses ever inward as terror grips the land.
Crossing the western heights and over the winter plain she lies, tucked a top a mountain.
But already Groshin Pass burns, two Booral legions smoldering in defeat.
The southern basin is at the mercy of Daggergrove, most of the northeastern hold boils with fierce conflict.
The journey is one of great peril.
Many aboard this fateful group do not share much more than kinsmanship, and some less than that.
The summer rains approach, leaving little but a fortnight to traverse the land to Skio, or die trying.
So, this rp will focus on a group of about two dozen, most npcs, and their journey through this horrid little place.
The explicit destination is Skio, the citadel in the far west.
In order to get there ahead of a most unfortunate fate of flood or war, the pace will be brisk and more dangerous that most are willing to be in times of peace.
The geography will change, the cast, and the outlook itself, because as the journey progresses, we see the true personalities and motives of our cast.
I'd like to have the two factions I mentioned represented a bit, if not outright then at least mentioned.
Another plot point I'd like to point out is a religious mecca to the north that is highly rumored to be safe, but is directly through very hostile land.
Character will die, player characters perhaps, and the writing will be of advanced quality I hope.
It is my intention to make this dramatic and realistic: death is a very real concern for these people, not just for themselves but their families and homeland.
Title: Way of The Warrior Final Round!
Congratulations to Wind and Lyzan on making it to the Final round of the Way of the Warrior Tournament! Remember, the winner of this tournament will earn a pass to Roleplay Gateway's Annual Grassroot tournament! We wish both of these fighters the best of luck! Watch and see which one comes out on top!
Off Topic News
Role Playing Discussion
Interesting discussions are always going on, come join in and chat about our mutual hobby
Ender Wiggin asks other roleplayers, as the title suggests, when they think it's appropriate to kill off another player's character without their permission, if at all.
RPG has a lovely Gallery section that doesn’t see enough encouragement and attention. If you have some scribbles lying around or some art you’d like to share start up a gallery and show people what you can do outside of an RP! While you are there take a moment to offer some encouragement and insight in another user's gallery, maybe they will return the favor. If you'd like your gallery to be featured be sure to send a PM to either Lillian Thorne or Guru.
Art Gallery: Guru's Digital Paintings
Guru is treating us all to a look at the steps he takes to make some beautiful digital art work. From the first sketches to the final product with all the steps in between represented you get to see how he works. Go feast your eyes!
Writing Gallery: An Inconsisten Gallery of Words
Serge Drevlan has a few selections up in his gallery that he'd like some feedback on. Three nice pieces with a promise of more to come. Go check it out, read some lovely words and tell him what you think.
Official ContestsDon’t forget about RPG’s Official Monthly contests Artists of the Month and Writer of the Month, the prize is a nifty colored user title. The contestants work really hard and put out some outstanding work. Stop by and check it out and while you are there don’t forget to Vote and Comment on the Contest entries, the more votes and comments, the more satisfying the victory is! We could always use more people. If you want to get involved and send in an entry, please see the Contest section of the site. Remember the more, the merrier!
February's WOTM, Action, is still Voting until March 10th. Casual - Advanced
This month's AOTM, Beauty and the Beast is accepting Entries until March 16th.
As a final note, WOTM has made some Changes. You may read them here and discuss them here.
Last month’s AOTM’s Advanced Winner, StarcallerLast month’s AOTM’s Casual Winner, Love That PandaFor such a long time, for ages stretching across more centuries than he cared to count, this cruel fate had been inflicted upon him and his fellow rebels who would not simply blindly obey, but exercised that legendary 'free will' they had supposedly received upon coming into existence. For years beyond reckoning, he had been paying the price for his sin - whether that be considered his pride, or his defiance. Who was He to steal away freedom, anyway? If He wanted His subjects to be mindlessly subservient minions, would He not have created them thusly? This punishment was not 'good', not 'just' and most certainly not 'merciful', but rather something more sadistic than any of his compatriots, in their supposed wickedness, could have imagined.
Closing his eyes, the creature that had been given the name of Lucifer could escape the sight of his fate alone, but never could he slip away entirely. For eons, the eyes of him and his fellow fallen angels had been unseen, but all-seeing, in their incarceration upon Earth. Trapped, they had watched humanity - His chosen - rise and dominate the world that should have been theirs. The fallen angels had watched humans struggle to find their place in the world, had witnessed their crises and triumphs, times of peace and times of strife.
Truly, could one imagine any fate to be worse than this? That they, the angels, beings born from fire, were subjugated like this and forced to watch the humans, beings born of dirt, experience the life that should have been the angels'. For Lucifer, whose sin had been to refuse to bow to the humans and for which he had been cast out, there was no greater torment than to witness those he thought inferior to himself partake in the pleasures he wanted for himself. He had never hated humans, and had never wanted any evil upon them - but neither did he love them, consider them his brethren, his equals or his superiors. Not until after his fall. Having all freedom and joy stolen away from oneself whilst being bound to Earth and forced to behold others enjoy theirs inevitably had him harbor endless bitterness.
And now, this: an isolated island nation, greater than any other on Earth, the grandest achievement of humanity and a place of beauty to rival that of His realm. For many decades, Lucifer's eyes had been on this place, which bore the name of Atlantis. With architecture inspired by that of the Greek, with exquisite materials fetched from the ocean, this city-state was a sight to behold. Each structure erected there seemed more marvelous than the last, their boastful extravagance announcing a prosperity unmatched anywhere else. The streets were free of litter, swept clean of filth both inanimate and otherwise. There was no vagrancy and no poverty in Atlantis, nor was there any crime and no disease. And, most importantly, there were no outsiders allowed.
'Paradise', the humans who dwelt there called it, much to the chagrin of the fallen who had known His realm and understood the true meaning of the term. Everyone lived in luxury in Atlantis, apart from the rest of the world. The prime example of human ambition - a place without suffering.
But even so, the flame of loathing lit in the heart of he whose name meant Bearer of Light had made the angel's gaze linger, and he had seen why Atlantis was so. His disembodied spirit had examined all of the land, and had seen all. Everyone there was a productive and happy member of the community only because those not fitting in with this community was weeded out. Lucifer had chuckled with hateful glee as he had found an unfortunate human in the streets of Atlantis, a lone vagrant, only to witness this poor soul be subtly seized by humans with authority, be dealt with and be bestowed upon the sea for the measureless waters to wash away the undesirable. As he had kept watching, he had seen the same done with criminals ranging from petty thieves and swindlers to violent murderers. The disabled and dishonest, the unfortunate and the discontent - all had been expunged so that Atlantis might appear stainless. Knives in the dark and the untruths of rulers were what ensured the perfection.
And Lucifer, in his sullenness, found that Atlantis was much like His realm after all, as with each broken human form he saw dropped from the cliffs of the island into the cold waves, he was reminded of himself - cast out of his home to a terrible fate.
For a long time he had followed Atlantis, each year feeling his resentment intensify, each year seeing more of himself in the victims of this city and more of Him and His cruelty in the government that dispensed such erasure. Countless times Lucifer had seen the human capacity of good and evil alike, but it seemed that these concepts were alien to the Atlantians.
Lucifer decided to remind them what the words meant.
Though ethereal and incapable of interacting with Earth directly, Lucifer found that he could still speak to the souls of the humans, and though he could not compel them to do his bidding, he found that they were easily seduced if he spoke to their core desires. Recalling that his own sin had been that of pride, the fallen angel descended upon Atlantis and let his vengeful words seep into the consciousness of the citizens, awakening their own latent arrogance and ambition. He floated amongst them like a specter, unseen and unheard, as his presence drove the humans to commit the very sin he himself had once been sentenced for.
And he laughed as his efforts bore fruit, as fights, both verbal and physical, broke out amongst the citizens whenever someone felt that their pride had been wounded, and leaders of the people turned against each other in the relentless pursuit of portraying themselves as greater than their peers. Friendships crumbled before the slithering pride, families broke apart, and the crime-rate of Atlantis briefly spiked before the strict masters of the city disposed of those causing the disquiet and restoring peace - but even so, Lucifer noted with satisfaction how the government remained untouched, and secret strife continued to flourish there. Though still unmarred on the surface, the observer could see the currents of discontent beneath the mask of the city, and knew that this must be a step towards peeling off the illusion of flawlessness.
But sadly, the Bringer of Light also realized that his work would not be enough, that despite his efforts, Atlantis continued to thrive. However, as Lucifer continued his gloomy watch over those that were removed from Atlantis, a revelation came upon him, and instead of seeing just himself in each human fed to the waters, he began to also see the other fallen angels.
Leaving Atlantis for a time, Lucifer went in search of his brethren, and in the north, he found one of his cast out brethren, though perhaps not one with a sin and conscience as light as his own. This creature was one who bore the name Asmodeus. This other fallen angel did not share Lucifer's bitterness towards humanity and their creator, but had for a long time already entertained himself with exercising his influence upon the humans, manipulating them and moving them like pawns upon a chessboard. He found pleasure in doing so, and fed his own twisted urges by driving humans to do dark deeds to satiate their own desires.
When Lucifer told Asmodeus of Atlantis, he did not fill with hatred or anger, but rather excitement. Could he ever have asked for a more perfect playground for him to turn the humans upon one another? Would he ever find people that would be so satisfying to lure into the pitfalls of sin?
Like the shadow of a predator bird, Asmodeus swept across Atlantis, spreading his wicked will to all in his path, unleashing the pent up lust within them. Those days were horrid ones in the peaceful city, as more than ever indulged themselves in chasing whatever they had coveted but never been able to acquire. Asmodeus was a master at loosening inhibitions, and under his reign, the Atlantians cheated, raped, stole and murdered. Even the rulers and those that served as their tools for erasing such impurity from Atlantis found themselves gripped by the influence of the fallen angel, and for the first time the city knew corruption, as those that should have been erased now found that bribes could save their lives, and those that were innocent could be eliminated to open the way for the authorities' desires.
From his perch above the city, Lucifer witnessed this and smiled contently as the undercurrents he had seen before now rose to the surface. Atlantis was now irrevocably tainted, and it was as though this manifested in the very appearance of the city. For the first time since its foundation, vagrants roamed the streets at night along with other characters out on dark errands, inflicting their unlocked potential for evil upon the world. Even so, Atlantis had only degraded to the point where it was like many other places where humans reigned - its facade of perfection was splintering, but this was not enough. Lucifer still saw humans tossed from the cliffs, he still saw how pretentious the fortunate were, and he felt the urge to punish them all stronger than ever.
Venturing out into the world again, Lucifer found another traveling fallen angel to the east, who harbored an even stronger ire within him towards humanity than Lucifer did. This angel was Amon, one of the most powerful of the fallen. Though handsome and kind, Amon had been cast out of His realm when he had tried to convince Him that Lucifer's very own punishment had been too harsh. Being accused by Him of the sin of anger and Amon had grown furious with the fate of the fallen angels, Amon himself had fallen, and his wrath had had plenty of time to seethe and grow since.
When Amon heard of Atlantis, he was enraged that such a place had existed, that people so easily turned their back on their neighbors for the sake of a happy few. The Atlantians disgusted him so that Amon grew determined to destroy it entirely, and like a brooding storm he rushed across Atlantis, letting his own fury infect any in his way. Wherever Amon caught even the faintest scent of conflict, he hunted it down like a bloodhound and rather than extinguish it, he fed the embers until they were blazing infernos of rage - and in the wake of Lucifer and Asmodeus' meddling, there were conflict aplenty. Everywhere in Atlantis violence resulted from even the most ridiculous argument, and soon the city-state was torn apart by civil war.
The Atlantian leaders, once so secure and pleased with the idyllic realm, tried desperately to restore peace and save their crumbling land, only to have the population turn their frustrations against them. Soon almost the entire governmental body of Atlantis had had their heads mounted on poles, and the authorities that had earned their place in the city by erasing the undesirable found themselves to be considered such. They joined the countless unfortunate souls in the ocean, until one day, Lucifer realized that there were no longer anyone being tossed from the cliffs.
Grinning in vengeful delight, Lucifer relished in the state of the once-great Atlantis. Where the streets had once been clean of litter and vagrancy, mobs of people now wandered homeless, their dwellings burned down in fits of fury and their wealth spent in efforts to gain an upper hand over their contenders for enforcement of their own desires. The sea was free of bodies except the long-dead ones at its bottom, and instead every street and alley was stained with blood spilled and never washed away, while corpses began to litter the dark corners of the city. Pride, lust and wrath all reinforced each other, unlocking the true potential of evil, which had been proven to exist in human and angel alike, beings of dirt and beings of fire. And indeed, Lucifer looked upon the burning Atlantis and knew that he, too, had released his own potential. Once an archangel, now a destroyer of human life and civilization.
But it was still not enough - Lucifer wanted more. Atlantis had scarred him so that he wanted it completely annihilated, so that no other place like it might ever sprout upon the Earth on which he was forced to be the idle observer for all eternity. So once more Lucifer set out to seek his brethren, and this time he found a fallen angel not far from Atlantis itself, residing deep at the bottom of the ocean - an angel that had allowed itself to truly corrupt, becoming a hideous monster in the place of the creature it had once been. This beast was Leviathan, and though it was still incorporeal, Lucifer felt that it was as different from him as sharks were from humans.
Having once desired only to gain everything his peers possessed, Leviathan had been banished for the sin of envy, and as it was told of Atlantis, this was the exact emotion that awakened in the monster's heart. For centuries it had avoided humans, those that could live in the world that was denied itself, and tried to ignore them, but Lucifer's tale was one that Leviathan could not ignore. Its invisible form rising from the ocean, the fourth fallen angel enveloped Atlantis like a veil of smoke, permeating every breath of the humans there and invoking their jealousy towards one another.
Needless to say, this was the final blow to Atlantis. Possessed by pride, lust, wrath and envy, the Atlantians tore their own land apart until no city remained. In the end, all that remained were a few surviving stragglers to stagger from the smoldering ruins of their city and venture into boats to escape this purgatory of their own making and seek shelter with other lands. But not even these could escape the hatred of Leviathan, and those that did not kill each other during the trip to the mainland were devoured by the creatures of the sea, stirred by the fallen angel as they were, easily manipulated to detest these humans who could walk the dry land that they were denied.
Finally, none were left, and Lucifer felt himself at peace knowing that Atlantis would soon crumble into the ocean and its name fade into myth, as the memory of humans was fickle indeed. Though still trapped in his sad state of inactivity and unlife, Lucifer finally felt content knowing that there was no place left on Earth that would mimic the wicked and tyrannical rule of His realm.
Of course, he inevitably came to look upon humanity again and came to resent it anew, and began whispering to the pride in mortals where he pleased - still not happy, but now at least content, knowing that even the most ardent and despicable thing that could be spewed from humanity could be destroyed... and that if a new Atlantis ever arose, there were plenty of other fallen angels cast into the sea of this world. Plenty indeed.Outside, Peter watched as the ship's fluids were meticulously vacated and replaced by the station's lonesome rigger. Laura and Griff floated along to either side of him, explaining which plugs did what, and insisting that even though the spent mag-radiator fluid came out yellow, that wasn't where the bathroom water went. At some point the two of them started arguing about something way over Peter's head, and he started scanning the other ships in port. Most were abandoned and half-picked for scrap, but there was one anchored way out past the station -- a big one -- that seemed more or less undisturbed. Since Griff and Laura were busy, Peter drifted down to the Rigger and tapped him on the shoulder. “What's that ship’s name?”
“Which one?” Peter pointed, and the rigger labored to turn his thick suit about and follow. To his experienced eyes, there was nothing in the direction of Peter’s gesture. “What are you….” It dawned on the spaceman that the green traveler might be truly and incredibly stupid. “You don’t mean Eden?”
“Do I?” Peter scratched his head – or rather, his helmet, which drew the ire of everybody around him. Peter raised his hands, as if to ask, “What did I say?”
“The Eden was exactly what you’d expect it to be,” Laura began. Peter’s expression made it clear that he had no idea what he should expect it to be. “It was a garden. A perfect garden, self sustaining – they really don’t have this story on your planet?”
“Okay. Well, Eden is basically supposed to be paradise. The ship gets its name from an old folktale about the first humans. Anyway it was designed to be a sort of miniature planet. If it had worked out, we probably would have built a thousand more just like it, and moved our entire society into the artificial environments.”
“But it didn’t work out,” Peter concluded. She nodded. “What happened – was it the Vallions?”
“Yes,” Captain Lumford interrupted. Nobody knew precisely when he had come through the airlock, or how long he had been listening – they had all been watching the ship. But now that he had been noticed, Laura and Griff and the rest of the crew seemed to instinctively shrink away. Only Peter and the nameless rigger were undaunted – the latter going about his work, and the former staring inquisitively through his glass helmet at the Eden, his back to the rest of the crew.
“I thought they only attacked natural planets. What would they want with an artificial one?” Peter asked. Everyone was silent, until the Captain sighed audibly into his microphone.
“They didn’t invade, kid. They were already there.” He held up a hand, pausing to collect his thoughts. “The Eden was built in 1083, but its first mission didn’t happen until 1090. Up until then, it was a PR stunt – they’d fly it around to different systems to rally the humans around our common accomplishments. Eden even stopped a civil war on Centuri 9, just by showing up in orbit. No shit. Four years of violence just dissolved at the sheer marvel of it. You could take shuttles to the ship, even buy tickets to come aboard and see the gardens, eat the fruit, you know. Tourist stuff.”
This marked the longest Peter had ever heard the Captain speak without throwing something at a crewmember. His attention was rapt.
“Then finally it was time for the big leagues. The Eden received its first real crew – or rather, its first population. So much of the ship was automated, you only needed a few people to actually FLY the thing, even if it all went horribly wrong you’d need maybe ten, twenty people and the right equipment, and you could manage the whole ship. Everybody else was an ordinary – well, an EXTRAORDINARY person who just happened to be in the right place. The mission was exploration, research, data-gathering… but the purpose of it all was to find and communicate with alien life. All the technical garbage, all the flight discipline, that was all secondary to the interaction of our two societies – so it wouldn’t have made sense to send an Army ship. We didn’t want any potential life forms thinking we were a militaristic society – the first interaction had to be peaceful, had to show them exactly who we are and what we’re like.”
“So they sent normal people,” Peter nodded, understanding. “Like me.” He felt an instant connection with these travelers – thrust, just as he was, into a world of spacemen and stars and technology so incredible he couldn’t imagine ever understanding it. What it must have been like for them! At least Peter had people like Laura to help him adjust, to learn how to work the ship; and Griff, to tell him what sort of foods would give him the shits when they turned the gravity off. And as he put two and two together, he realized – tragically – that these innocent people, just like him, must have been the first to witness the horror of the Vallions. He was almost afraid to ask. “What happened to them?”
“Everyone has their theory,” Lumford remarked casually. “What we know for sure is that the Eden lost its course at some point in its journey. It was missing for years – and when it finally came back, it was carrying the Vallions. They docked right here – this very station – and they seized every single ship in port. Killed thousands. Then they vanished. The next time anybody saw the Vallions….”
“Cautar Four,” Peter realized, biting his lip. His home planet – the first battleground.
“You were, what, five? Six?” Peter held up fingers. “Eight years old when the planet fell. You couldn’t even comprehend the significance of that day…. On a single planet, over eleven trillion people killed. Less than 500,000 survivors – most of them children, like yourself. And in the same year, two more planets were lost to the Vallions.”
“And this is where it all started,” Peter’s face was a ghostly white, made to seem all the paler by the fluorescent bulbs in his helmet. For a while he just stared at the Eden, floating in the distance like a gravestone in space. “Where did they come from?”
“Nobody knows for sure,” Laura interrupted. The captain shot her a look and she fell silent.
“If you ask me,” he began – his voice thick with menacing, conspiratorial certainty – “they didn’t come from anywhere. We made them.” Peter’s brow wrinkled with confusion. “Those people we put on the Eden – ordinary people like you – they became the Vallions. They must have floated, lost, in that ship for years – never knowing they were going to make it back. How could they? The odds against it…. Space is big, kid. Twenty active crew, a million civilians, all lost in the void with no hope of return… can you imagine what that must have done to them?”
“Captain,” Laura tried to interject – Peter was looking faint – but the Captain continued without losing a beat.
“Imagine, if paradise became your prison? They must have lost hope – must have been driven mad by the prospect of it. The human mind…. It can overcome many problems, but not hopelessness. How long would you last – how long would any of us last – before you became a monster too?”
“Captain, please,” Laura begged. She was completely overcome with concern for Peter, who seemed almost catatonically lost in thought. Only now did Lumford break his narrative, to observe the newcomer and gauge his reaction.
Remarkably, though his body seemed to float lifeless in the vacuum, his voice was deliberate and calm. “The folk-tale…. How does it end?”
Lumford shot a glance at Laura, and she hung her head as she answered. “The humans are exiled from the Garden of Eden, and forbidden to return.” He motioned for her to continue, and she did so tediously. “Soon after that…. They began to kill one another, starting with a man named Cain. Before long, almost all of humanity is destroyed in a terrible flood.”
“Did they ever return to the garden?” Peter asked.
“Never.” This time, the Captain answered directly – with a strange level of concern in his voice.
Peter spun around to face the others. His eyes were almost shockingly bright, his features animated – not at all what the others expected to see. For the first time since he came aboard, he seemed not to be the least bit afraid. “We should go onboard,” he declared. It was subtle, but Laura thought she heard a change in his voice – not that it was deeper, but that it carried more weight and purpose than it ever had. She was shocked at his sudden stroke of courage, and aghast at his stupidly fearless suggestion. Her eyes turned to Griff, who was likewise stupefied, and then to Lumford.
The captain simply grinned. “Thought you’d never ask.”January’s WOTM Casual Winner, BelaThe Flaws of Perfection
Humanity has always had an affinity for evolution. Despite our complete and utter lack of understanding, or even acceptance of, change, we are the epitome of evolution. Throughout time humans have pushed evolution to the limit, and sometimes beyond the barrier. Because of this the world throws at us many obstacles, that hinder and sometimes destroy us. Things like disease, natural disasters, and famine are just a few examples of the great unknown that fights back at us. Yet somehow we barely escapes with our lives, other times we come out stronger and better than before. Sometimes it’s not natural causes that put a damper in our evolution. Sometimes it’s our own fault. If humanity had a fatal flaw it would be fear. Fear of the unknown, and fear of the known. We fear a lot of things, whether they be rational or irrational.
Fear can cause whole societies to crumble to dust. It is fear that will our ultimate demise, but fear is not our only flaw. We are not anything, if not a flawed race. While we are greatest example of evolution to walk this earth, we are still not perfect. And that very fact scares the hell out of humanity. Vanity and Greed. Two of the deadly sins that sum of humanity ever so remarkably. We want what we can’t have, and the one thing that has always alluded us is perfection, but that has never stopped us from trying. That’s the thing about humanity, no matter what we never give up. Even when it could mean our own destruction.
This is the story of humanity’s demise, but to tell you how we fell, I must first tell you of how far we rose.
I was born into the late 22nd century, a very different world than your own. You see All the problems of the old world had long fallen away. Things like famine and mindless genocide were just myths to my generation. We grew up being told of how destructive and dangerous humanity had been, but now everything was perfect. Our entire world was utopia. No more wars or disease. Even natural disasters that still occurred, didn’t destroy our society. People were happy, all on their own. We didn’t have some giant government that forced people to marry certain people, or get certain job. We had all the freedoms we deserved. The liberties that had began in North America, and throughout the centuries had been Evolutionized by The New World.
It began in the mid-twentieth century. Scientists began experimenting with cloning. Yes, cloning. The idea of creating a perfect copy of a living creature was like candy to a child. Something humanity couldn’t resist. It took well nearly three quarters of a century for scientists to finally find a way to gain the proper laws and procedures to even think about human cloning. Finally in 2059, a scientist by the name of Aleksander Gregorovitch produced the very first official human clone.
Human Cloning had begun as just another “because we can” research “project”, but for Aleksander Gregorovitch it was an opportunity to finally achieve the one thing that had always alluded them: human perfection. The clones were given the official moniker of “doppelganger”, and later came to be called “gangers” for short. They were raised in research labs, as they would rats or other science specimens. While Gangers had the same DNA as humans, they were considered anything but. Gangers were nothing more than a science experiment. If a ganger failed to produce the expected results, it was put down like an animal.
Ganger research lead to the height of humanity. Their experimentations produced cures for every disease man had ever known. And with disease, other fatal problems began to fade. Over the years the gangers reproduced, as any human would. It is our nature after all. The offspring of Gangers were treated no different their parents. After some time, many of the Gangers were released into society. The rising population was unnecessary for research purposes, and it seemed a waste to throw away a perfectly healthy living creature. While Gangers got their freedom from scientific experiment, they weren’t given anything any better. They were sold into slavery, and forced to work for small wages and awfully bad shelter.
When Gregorovitch created the first Ganger, he embedded a small anomaly in the DNA. No one knows how exactly it worked, just that it did. On the right wrist of the ganger was a small black birthmark. If one looked closely enough the birthmark formed a delicate “G”. In a way Gregorovitch was claiming the Ganger as his own. When the next gangers were created, they each had a small “G”. Each ganger’s birthmark was located in a different place, but it was always there, and easily noticeable. When their children were born, they too had the black birthmark. It is a sign that no matter what, to humans gangers will always be someone else’s property, and never their own.
My name is Effie Sinclair, and I am a Ganger. On my left shoulder, just below the spot were my mahogany hair falls, is a small intricate “G”. That “G” represents so much to me. To most of my kind it is a contract of enslavement, but to me it is freedom. To me it is hope. Because if I have anything to live for it’s to bring the destruction of those who have wronged me. If it is the last thing that I do, I will be sure to bring down this false utopia. I am one person, but all it takes is one person to change the world. Aleksander Gregorovitch did it, and so will I. His own creation will be the demise of his perfect world. Because, I know what they refuse to accept. We are human too. We may have been born from science, but we were born as human as they were. We are the perfection they desired, but the evolution they feared. We are their fatal flaw.
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Next Guild News: March, 23rd 2012