Hyperion:Unlimited OOC Thread
I often wonder where it all went wrong. If I could go back to the beginning, back to where it all began... Would I have damned us all the same? I replay those years like an old film reel, sorting through memories not my own. It all seemed so different then...
Startled by the sting of cold metal against warm flesh, my wooden cane emits a resounding crash as it skips across the broad side of the only fixture in this quiet, lonely room. Two sickly hands grope blindly beneath the smooth metal table in search of my timeworn cane – the unassuming relic of an otherwise colored past. I steady myself atop desiccated legs grown weary from the crawl of countless years as crackling speakers shriek opposite my hunched and miserable form.
“Subject four-five-one, take your seat and continue as scheduled
I nod my head in agreement at the monotonous voice from above and sink into the uncomfortable metal chair without thought or question. The fissures that mar my face betray an age where mankind saw the world through different eyes… That time died long, long ago.
“We had dreams, you see – high-strung hopes and noble ambitions to call our own. We set out into the vast expanse of interstellar void with an innocence one can only describe as naïve. The first months were filled with exacting purpose as we felt the full weight of the empire at our backs. There were no questions to answer or enemies to repel, just a straightforward mission – to unite mankind beneath a single banner. It all seemed so simple, didn’t it
My eyes linger upon a faded photograph of my late wife clad in vibrant crimson – undoubtedly from our wedding night. Forsaken memories trickle back from time-choked depths as I reminisce upon the faint scent of lavender. There is no warming touch to soothe me, no trailing flesh to awaken my eager spirit. Deathless memories exist only to haunt me now as frail fingers reach out to embrace her fading silhouette.
I smile a pitiful smile as the acrid stench of seared flesh forces me to choke away my rising bile. I descend the ageless span of black infinity with every successive blink, the vital trickle of time worn deep into my very bones.
“They promised me you’d return! They swore it could be done! You promised me
I yell as the cold metal chair clatters away from my shrunken, shriveled form. What strength remains in my pitiful bones propels me toward the two-way glass where I reach out to lay a withered hand upon its smooth surface. My wife gazes at the tarnished silver ring that crowns my wrinkled hand with a vibrant smile, bleeding away decades of solitude with her passing glance. It is my son’s voice which brings me to tears.
“All those years ago and still you’re with me
I flash a black-toothed grimace as I realize I will waste away in this hellish prison. A torrent of infernal rage rises within me, bringing renewed strength to a mortal shell long past its mark. I beat that seeing-window until my fists become wet with blood, screaming hopelessly as my wife and child leave my sight forever. Centuries of dust dances in the fading light as my wrinkled hands summon the last of my power - enough to launch my metal chair at that daemon portal of forsaken memory which spawned the image of all I had lost. A heavy sigh escapes me, like the final gasp of a dying man, as the large dust-coated mirror crashes to the ground. Its fractured surface betrays an aged reflection of distorted horror: the damaged features of charred flesh, bearing the vacant sightless stare of a blind man relinquished from the bonds of sanity.
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The assembled mass stares in bewildered silence as Dr. Brand blinks profusely, having forgotten his words in a moment of deep thought. The cryptic image of a pale blue dot within colored bands of light suddenly floods the auditorium's massive projector screen.
“Eighty three years ago this land was settled by those who came before us: artifacts of that bright blue world Humanity once called home. Allow me to reiterate the legendary discourse of none other than famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan, a fitting tribute in honor of our ancestors
"From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity – in all this vastness – there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known
The quizical smile on Dr. Brand's face leaves little to the imagination for he is a man who often wears his heart on his sleeve.
"I offer my heartfelt congratulations to each of you on being chosen to accompany our people's first and foremost space exploration program aboard the illustrious starship Hyperion. I am sure you’ve made good use of the briefing material distributed by commander Aurea - a fine and fiery lass, that one! Please bear in mind that all research personnel are to report to Dr. Magnus’ office at your leisure - second door on the left! Security personnel should be suited up and ready for pre-launch inspection by oh-eight hundred hours. All other personnel please report to the launch bay by oh-nine hundred hours with personal equipment on hand. I will not be faulted for trinkets left behind on so grand a journey! Now then, shall we leave these white-washed walls and have a bite to eat? We can't be expected to rewrite history on an empty stomach now can we
The crowd rumbles with excited chatter as hundreds file out of the grand auditorium, the sleek circumpunct emblem of Project Hyperion stamped upon each sleeve. The yawning maw of Altaraxian architecture looms up over the crest of Halcyon Industries as a chemical-laced smog settles over the plateau upon which Altarax lies. The Eastern snowcapped mountains of Leng rise like an ancient pagan offering bearing stark contrast to the rough-hewn cityscape of concrete and steel. Eighty-three years of harsh living have chiseled an artificial haven from living rock, entire sections of the capitol city laid bare from the constant stream of earthquakes we've long grown accustomed to.