Monthly Archives: September 2008

Cybernetic

The city hummed. This electronic world the only world that existed anymore. The city pulsed. This lit up world, the only world humanity knew.”Head out princess, we have a main hack to complete,” says a familiar voice from the chip in her right ear. “Oh, and welcome to Insilico.”

The darkness of these cities never bothered Cris and her footfalls are lost in the steady sounds around her. Across her hip, in a bag protected by her pale hand is her lifeblood, her computer. Unfamiliar with the surroundings, though all the survivor cities had the same feel, she takes a moment to orient her sky blue eyes.

“We haven’t got time for you to take a guided tour, move along please,” clips the AI who is now like a second voice in her head.

“You know,” says Cris so low most wouldn’t notice, “If you weren’t heartless and just a bunch of firing wires I would find ways to deal with you.” She moves past local denizens through brightly lit streets, neon signs screaming down at her while Zero simply ignores her altogether. Cris once thought having the AI with her might be fun. Fat chance.

It is her job to blend in, to seem as if she has always been right here in this city. There were a few, still powerful, in this burgeoning society and those are the ones she sought.

“Hey, femme fatal, where am I going? Little help please,” she mutters.

“Head past the traders and stores, unless you are feeling like a new look today,” snarks Zero knowing full well Cris lived in black leather pants, thick boots and various tank tops. “Then move down the ramp and try not to stop at the club over there. I know your preference for entertainment but we don’t have time.”

Cris narrows her eyes but says not a word as she glances at the building with lit, red neon outlines of shapely women.

“Notice to your left, there is an ally, back there is a diner and a few ways to get out of trouble should we need them. Take note please. There are boxed apartments, the ones with huge windows, head up the spiral staircase until you reach the top.”

Cris does exactly as she is told, despite her desire to do otherwise, she has already found out the hard way what happens when she doesn’t listen to directions and ends up with more cyber trouble then she ever needed. At the top of the stairs she looks out on the glowing city before her. She could feel the new life flow through it, the new life that humanity had created.

“Straight ahead there is a building, tall, spotlight on top, you need to get there and hack into the account numbers I will give you. It’s the best spot for what we need to achieve.”

Leaning on the railing by the apartment Cris looks out onto this city. Somewhere below her there were kids doing “Breathe,” getting high on the combination of oxygen and whatever toxins where included. Below there were people plugged in, wired up, strung out and fighting to live. The dark streets spread out as if welcoming the dirty leftovers of what had once been a world of real land and waters.  Now all that was left was water, and these cities made of science suspended high above the poisoned clouds and anchored in a life that no longer existed.

The city buzzed. This battery centric world, the only world that was left to her and she smiles wickedly out on it.

Skills Haks Insilico

Skills Hak's "Insilico"

Story inspired and set in the roleplay sim of Insilico which was created by Skills Hak with the help of her muse Cinndreia Messmer. This sim and roleplay rules were still under construction at the time of this post.

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La Reve

She pressed her face against the cold stone, closed her eyes and ran her hands along the soft curves.  Unrelenting, the towering mass stayed quiet.  She was accustomed to long spans of stillness before her ears heard the voices or her eyes filled with the semblance of that which lay inside.  She was equal parts hunter, emancipator, and lover but she feared this was not be found, freed or adored.  The inchoate mass sat in the darkness; celestial light glanced off the smooth parts of the stone but could not penetrate the exterior.

The pain in her back slowly crept up to settle in her neck.  She moved one hand, pressed her cold fingers underneath her hair and rolled her head slowly against the tension.  Her body ached with exhaustion, yet she had accomplished nothing in weeks.  Her knees were stiff from the hours spent sitting by the shapeless form, failing to coax it from within.  Exasperated, she filled her lungs with the cool air hovering there at the edges and slowly released a whisper, “Speak to me.”  There was no reply, no breath, no movement.  The stillness was maddening.

She shifted and turned her back to the prisoner, sat with her arms curled around her legs and her forehead pressed against her knees.   What had she done wrong?  She retraced her steps, but she found nothing unusual.  The mass was there beneath the fossil encrusted soil, just like all the others.  It was buried deeply and she had painstakingly removed the sediment that clung to it, revealing the remarkably smooth onyx skin.  Every morning, she came here to speak her first words, a warm greeting, a gentle smile, a soft touch.  In every other case, in different voices, she heard in reply their stories of entrapment.  Each one in their own way, lost, forgotten, or betrayed but she gave them life. Never before had she taken so much time, given so much of herself only to be shunned, without even a whisper.

She pressed her back against the muted stone, and raised her eyes to the night sky.  “Perhaps it needs gentle encouragement”, she thought and set her mind on a path to that very end.  She stood up, stretched and turned to face the captive.  She set her hand gently against a smooth edge, followed the tiny veins of silver that ran like rivers along the skin with her fingers, and whispered, “We will start in the morning.”

Up before the spark of dawn, she dressed in loose fitting clothes, grabbed her tools and headed toward the stone’s resting place.  When she rounded the bend she stopped to take another look at the sleeping giant, but something was odd.  It must be this early light, she thought.  The shape appeared different, it was not unrecognizable but she noted subtle changes near the top and the base seemed smaller.  She put down her tools, pressed her palms into her sleepy eyes and ran one hand through her hair; she laughed quietly to herself and moved closer.  With every step, she could see the changes were not as subtle as she first thought.  Her heart slowed and she noticed the air seemed thicker.  The last few steps were like walking uphill in a driving rain.

She put down her tools and tried to gather herself.  She stepped through her normal routine, a warm greeting, a gentle smile, a soft touch.  Nothing came in reply.  “Perhaps I should wait for sunrise,” she said quietly.  But she was determined, still tired and frustrated.  She picked up her tools, and started chipping away at the mass in the ways she had done so often before but nothing changed.  The edges of her best tools dulled quickly and the stone was not marred.  The soft skin shone brightly in the noon day light, her tools left not even a blemish.  She tried a different set, more leverage and greater force, but her blows were met with equal opposition.

She worked furiously through the day’s light until her hands cramped and the glint of stars filled her eyes but the shape remained unchanged from the morning.  She stopped reluctantly, wiped the salt from her brow, and chastised herself under her breath,  “I am out of practice, I am tired and I’ve neglected my tools.”  She picked up her tools and left without another word.

She slept soundly and rose early to recover her tools.  She worked a stone against each edge until it sang just the right note, then she moved to the next.  One by one, each tool joined the chorus and as she finished the sun rose over the hill behind the shed, filling the small space with a bright yellow haze.  Satisfied and clear headed, she packed up and walked down the tiny trail leading to the stone.  The day was bright and clear and this time there was no mistaking the changes.

There before her stood an unfamiliar shape.  Complex movements emerged – still smooth, flowing and beautiful – but wildly different.  New curves appeared in the middle, the top blossomed outward stretching precariously out below the support of the shrinking base.  She worried herself that it would not withstand the unbalance and before she could stop them, words trickled from her lips, “Please be careful.”  She put down her tools, and curled up against the small base.  This time it was her stories that echoed about.  She closed her eyes and revealed her deepest fears, her loneliest moments, her loves lost and unrequited passions to the stone.  She felt movement, but she dare not open her eyes and she drifted into a deep and comfortable dream.

She knew when to wake.  She knew what she would see when she opened her eyes again, the shapes of entangled bodies – love, fear, passion, anger, hope – twisted together in a lustful dance.  She knew that from now on, this place would take shape, not from tools chipping away, but from that which was within her soul.

Inspired by La Reve, built by Lash Xevious

Inspired by La Reve, built by Lash Xevious

Smoldering

Her bleary eyes scan over the final checklist and she thumbs through the boxes packed tightly with essentials for the adventure ahead.  She checks from the list carefully penned on the yellow pad, and from the not so neat list in her head: camping gear, canned foods, baby wipes, batteries, water and water bottle, first aid and clothing crammed into plastic bags.  Then there were the things most easily forgotten – bungee cords, ropes, reflective tape, duct tape, goggles, dust mask, flashlight and more batteries, work gloves, and .. where is her hat?  She stands up, confounded for a moment before noticing the tugging against her neck.

“Big ass hat with leather cord, check.”

She climbs into the truck, eases over the ignition and listens for the gentle cough before the engine awakes.  Settling into the lumpy bench seat she whispers to no one “That’s a good sign”.  She said that every time the old truck growled to locomotion.  She draws away from the last bit of comfort and heads down the street slowly with the lights dimmed for fear of awaking the few neighbors in the middle of the night.

Easing out onto the highway just beyond her house she starts to feel the release from the here and now, just until the phone buzzes gently against her hip.  She draws the device from the case and the blue blur fills up the cab *see you at the turn off, don’t forget the mallet*.

“Oh, sonofa.”

A quick check in the rear view mirror and a wide sweeping turn takes her back to the starting line.  Lights now search over every neighbor’s home, she curses gently as she leaps from the truck and yanks the garage door open.  Leaning casually against the wall and quietly mocking her girl scout badges, is the mallet.

Off again, this time with more urgency and the mallet at her side she speeds down the highway, texting with one hand and glancing occasionally at the long narrow road toward Reno.  *see u soon*.  The time passes quickly when your mind is racing through the possibilities of what lies ahead.  Every year the sense of wonderment and the draw of the unexpected urges them into the far recesses of the desert.  This year was no different, they planned like expert military leaders, mapping out every move as well as contingency plans – none of which included forgetting the mallet.

Two hours outside of Reno she sees the wavering outline of people and vehicles in the darkness; she slows her approach and convinces her heart to stop racing for the moment.  A quick round of warm embraces, hearty smiles and the caravan reforms and veers off the road on to the trail at the welcome sign.

Dust kicks up along the trail leading off from the sign into the lake bed.   The truck rocks back and forth and shes steadies both hands on the wheel to negotiate the uneven surface.  Driving headlong into the spray of white clouds spilling from the trucks ahead, she adjusts her hat and eases into her artist’s mind.

Slowly, the caravan drives into the belly of the black desert.   A blank canvas now, in these few remaining dark hours it will soon light up with color, sound and smells that are unmistakably alive.  The City will soon breathe it’s first breath.

The caravan halts at the entrance to the City.  Engines slow to idle but over their muddling, you can hear the call of the siren – her song ringing unmistakably clear.  Come see the life that springs from an otherwise dead ground.  Come feel the energy that sweeps over the lake bed from thousands of souls singing songs that echo from the desert floor.  Come build the city of fabled paradise, rising from the cracks of land abandoned but to those that embrace the magic.   Come march along the dusty roads, dance in vibrant scarves and feel the heat of the fire wash over you.   Come …

Burning Life 2008

Burning Life 2008

The Dreamer

She fell into the deep ocean of her subconscious, into that place she always goes, that place she cannot avoid. Chocolate hair spilled across the tiny pillow onto the mat and a thin blanket covers her sun soaked skin. This is who she was, this was her path. It comes on slowly, the drooping of her eyes, the drift of her mind, the quiet, and finally the fall into the abyss. Soft puffs of warm air slip over her lips in the steady rhythm of sleep. Her eyes move behind closed lids as she watches scenes only she can see; only she can know.

Tonight she is below more water than she has never seen, in the salt of the ocean, but there is no panic about breathing. These are the signs that allow her to know, these are the signs that whisper into her firing synapses that she is dreaming. Moving with the grace of a dancer she lets the scene before her come into focus, white flowers rise up from the sandy bottom and they glow softly like ghosts of their sisters on the surface. Dropping dark hands she watches as they slide through the translucent foliage; in the distance, within the spread of the flowers, stood trees with no leaves, spirits of a brighter more tangible world.

Then came the whispers; they did not frighten her but seemed to soothe. She was at ease here, stilled. Her dark eyes, the color of damp earth, sweep and turn her body to follow. Music now drifts, soft, nearly in the background, like notes speaking to her soul. Without questioning she walks toward the center ring of light; for a moment she lifts a hand toward the cluster of jellyfish who dance near, her desire to touch overwhelming. They take no notice of her. Continuing forward she focuses on the orb at the very center, the glowing force that felt as if it held this place together. Eyes widening a little she realizes what it is; this was the spirit of the moon, spinning gently inside this ocean. Drifting downward, twirling gently, were ghost white feathers.

Putting her hands up in front of her she cautiously walks toward the sphere, and then, into it. Like waking up the girl becomes aware of the beautiful female whale swimming slow circles; she was to be called Shelonda. There were no words, only connection, only hearts below the surface. The large guardian of this place begins to sing, her underwater song in tongues that can only be felt.

The girl curls into herself in the center of the dream moon, feathers drifting about her, whale song holding her close, sparks of light glittering in the distance. She was safe.

Outside the tent a nomadic village awaits her awakening; for Ayah is the dreamer of her people.

Alir Flows Shelondia in the waters of Raimondo

Alir Flow's "Shelondia" in the waters of Raimondo

Forest Breathes

A pair of worn, black, simple flats lay by the entrance to the grove; discarded, forgotten, an unwanted reminder. Rebecca slowly steps forward into the feeling she had been seeking. Peace begins to flood every last atom of her being as her stocking feet sink into the lush grass in the forest. In the morning light the thick trees let go of leaves so they whisper down and she walks, like a woman enchanted, to the statue that rises up out of the center. Trailing fingers against the cool stone she opens up her internal self, the woman who is boxed away so carefully during her day to day. Worn bits of the statue scrape against her soft hand. Pausing she looks around with eyes the color of the forest and then removes her hose, leaving them at the base of the statue. Part of her wonders if men who wore such armor, as this dark sentry does, ever had to hide that they hated the fighting. Did everyone around her have secret selves tucked down into a crack in their soul?

Birds talk softly in the canopy above her head as she walks on, past large toadstools, through green ferns at the base of the tree toward the smell of water; that pure smell of life from the earth, the clean simple scent. When the sound of the small falls greets her it is as if the last bit of packing is lifted, her careful box dropped away. There is a crystalline tree that stands by the water its cool beauty fascinating. Rebecca hikes up her delicate, suit skirt and climbs the blue white branches. Settling into a place that seems to cradle her she untucks her tidy, green, button up blouse and opens the top to reveal her collar bones. The forest seems to glow, whispering as her spirit rises.

Stretching out her legs she reaches up to let down her black hair, finally smiling when the rays of the forest dance through it. She felt like a shoot pushing through dark earth and blooming. From her spot she could just make out the edges of the tree house someone built here long ago. She wasn’t here for houses though, or papers, bosses, market prices, or judgments. No, she was here to grow in gentle peace and all around her the forest breathes.

Bettina Tizzys Silvanus at Dreamworld SE

Andrek Lowell's "Silvanus" at Dreamworld SE

Rebirth

She awoke to the dull thumping outside her head.

The tiny boat rocked against the wood stantion with an oddly regular beat.  Light danced across her eyes too brightly at first; she blinked back the shock and raised her hand to her brow in defense.

Her instincts kept her from moving too quickly and she shifted cautiously against the soft wood supporting her sleep.  She breathed out slowly, and decades of old sea air rushed in to refill her chest.  Sweet and salty days lingered on her tongue, then sharp cold nights walked defiantly across it as she exhaled again.

Slowly, her blinking eyes embraced the light and shadows that outlined the shack.  It rose out of the dark water on stilts like a giant standing in the ocean that was but ankle deep.  Struck by a sense of urgency, she looked around her only to find the lonesome shack wrapped in the blanket of a horizon devoid of place or time.

Stars danced across the sky and for a moment she thought she heard them whispering her name. Stopping her breathing, she listened more intently and heard the echo of radio waves bouncing to and fro, rocking the boat against the leg of the giant. The sound calmed her to the core.

The low light from the giant’s eyes lured her from the boat.

Easing herself from the womb, she steadied on the first step and looked up.  She opened her mouth to ask if anyone was there, but the air was too heavy and her words stopped before they escaped.  The scene became clearer now.  Surrounded by sea to horizon’s edge, there was no where else to go so she ascended the short ladder that dipped down to meet her.  Hands over her head, she  pulled herself rung by rung out of the water shelter and up into the light of the giant’s eyes.

Finally reaching the top rung, she gave herself one last push and stood on shakey legs atop the small landing at the chest of the giant.  She leaned into what felt like an embrace.  Now the sight of the vast expanse became almost overwhelming.  Here before her stretched a great canvas onto which her dreams could float, here was her chance to begin anew.  The radio sounds became quiet, the boat stilled and the air filled with whispers of the stars.

A smile broke across her lips as she turned slowly to open the door to the future.

AM Radios Husk Rebooted at NMC Arts Lab

AM Radio's "Husk Rebooted" at NMC Arts Lab

Inspiration:  AM Radio’s build entitled “Husk Rebooted” located on NMC Arts.  Available for a limited time.